Thousand Swords



by Xenorazr USER (120 Reviews)
June 16th, 2010 | 17 replies

Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Who says you have to be (completely) original to kick ass?

Melodic death metal bands are part of a much cluttered field. It’s one that you’ll find many people saying the next rising group is a completely derivative clone of several others. Pretentiousness aside, many of these bands are relatively unremarkable and seldom bring even faintly interesting style cues to the table. Yet the next group in line doesn’t have to be completely innovative-they can sound familiar yet bring well-crafted music and warrant varying degrees of praise. This is where Whispered steps up.

Formed in 2004 under the name Zealot, Whispered have had to wait some time before getting material out to the public. And it wasn’t until recently this year that they released their debut LP, Thousand Swords. Similar to Amon Amarth, Whispered’s subject matter is on the more whimsical side, except they tackle samurai themes as opposed to the established Viking subjects. To compliment this stylistic decision, the band have brought and incorporated Japanese instruments and various sounds to give their music more illusionary merit than most other groups. With Thousand Swords, they give us a full-blown idea of what their ambitions sound like, and it’s some great, fun music.

The best way to describe Whispered’s sound would be to take Children of Bodom, bump up the heaviness, match or exceed their energy in small doses and add some The Last Samurai-esque effects for good measure. “Blindfold,” which the band released a music video for, gives a good idea of what the album sounds like without spoiling the stronger points. Altogether, the album comprises of usually lengthy songs, about half of which alternate a few times between fast and slow to moderate pacing. Take, for instance, “Dead Cold Inside,” the album’s second longest track, which starts slow but allows the usual charisma and near-intensity of the band’s core sound to come up during a few points. Other than this and the album closer “Blade in the Snow,” (clocking in at over fifteen minutes) Thousand Swords is a relatively fast-paced ride without going overboard. Conversely, there’s also the title track, which starts off with what I like to call “eargasmic intensity” and only lets up preceding the guitar/keyboard solos.

Those wondering if the Japanese influences found here are enough to help the band stand out from the crowd need only know that they give the album an edge; nothing more, nothing less. “Intro-Hajimari” instrumentally initiates the album and, when imagined with a sound akin to Kalmah, nicely prepares the listener. The aforementioned epic “Blade in the Snow” also brings much of the corresponding atmosphere one can expect from such a track, which is also occasionally found throughout the rest of the album. These touches definitely help to sell the themes and, while not the least bit revolutionary, are elaborated in a way that it feels fresh enough in a time when music doesn’t seem to have much innovation.

As I’ve already mentioned, the band exhibit reasonably ecstatic playing styles, with vocalist/guitarist Jouni Valjakka leading the front. Instrumentally, each member is in top form and do well to lend their talents by giving the album plenty of ooze. Though like many metal vocalists, Valjakka doesn’t exactly stand out from the crowd, providing the usual growls and screams one can expect. He’s not horrible, but were it not for the rest of the band playing alongside him (listen after the title track’s intro and you’ll see what I mean), it’d be tough to act defensive.

Whispered find themselves covering very familiar ground with Thousand Swords, yet bring just enough of a little something different to be worth giving a shot. And for a debut, this is excellent material. The music sounds great (and occasionally epic), everything is well-produced with justified mixing for each band member and, in many ways, what’s here makes other, similar bands sound dull and uninteresting. Genre enthusiasts should definitely love what they’ll find here and, being one myself, look forward to what these guys will do in the future.

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user ratings (96)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 16th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wrote this one up pretty quickly. Really been enjoying these guys, probably one of my favorite albums, especially given a lack of classic tracks. I also gave some album recommendations since I have more music under my belt than I did in previous reviews.

June 16th 2010


I was gonna call you on overrating but this is actually pretty cool. does sound a lot like Le Grand Guignol....

June 16th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

Let's not start making crazy comparisons here.

June 16th 2010


sounds like Le Grand Guignol and ChthoniC

June 16th 2010


Hard to listen to sometimes but pretty awesome otherwise

June 17th 2010


like cob but not shitty should be the proper comparison

June 19th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Generally, I think it's pretty good. I would try to make the keyboard solos a little less influent. Some of them are good but they're over-used. Some more guitar solos instead would be nice.

The vocalist should try to improve also with some variations.

June 20th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I don't think the keyboards are overused, the mixing and attention to and from each member/instrument feels adequate and justified. But I would have liked more (intense) guitar solo work in the title track.

August 30th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

I agree that the keyboards are a little overused. Still, I love this album.

December 16th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

This was pretty incredible on first listen (that chorus in the first song!). Hope it holds up.

January 2nd 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Too much wankery on this.

October 13th 2011


Damn this is already reviewed, holy fuck this is awesome.

December 5th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Question for the reviewer, is English your first language? Good review but lots of awkward adjective use.

December 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

"like cob but not shitty should be the proper comparison"


April 26th 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

of honor is pretty bad honestly

September 2nd 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

Looking back at this. I wouldn't call this album unoriginal. I mean, objectively speaking, it isn't that different to most Melodeath. But I've listened to a lot of Melodeath and most of it doesn't jump out at all, bands like The Absence or even Be'lakor just do nothing for me. But this album stood out straight away. It still does. Not entirely sure why, maybe it's the really verbacious and confident leads...

November 10th 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

This band's probably one of the better Bodom clones tbh.

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