Review Summary: Die by the sword.
The anomaly that is Whispered is impressive. A Finnish melodic death metal band crafting hymns to the ancient shogunates that ruled over Japan for eons isn't that
strange, however the amount in which this historical era of samurai warriors is captured by a set of people who are approximately 12,000 kilometers from such a land is quite impressive in its own right. The authenticity in what they play is certainly a contributing factor-the delicate flow of the koto and the lower thrum of the shamisen rear their head in many occasions, such as the intro track "Chi No Odori". This is all a refinement on a formula that was already made damn impressive off their prior album, Shogunate Macabre
. The unyielding grandiose that embodied the greatest aspects of Whispered have been carried with them to Metsutan
, alongside an even greater eye for detail placed on the folk and symphonic elements that were always embedded in the bands DNA.
Tracks like "Kensei" show this dichotomy well, marrying folk string instrumentation (the koto again, maybe?) and sweeping power metal leads in such a way that they dance to each other's rhythm seamlessly. This is not a ballroom dance of any sort however, as they are backed by some rather ~scathing~ snarls and blast beats that would level a supercity, those of which form the meaty bulk of the record. There are, however, moments of respite being dispersed evenly throughout the record (although even some of these moments are totally brimming with catharsis, looking at you "Warriors of Yama"). This diversity is appreciable-while the dizzying chaos of songs such as "Strike!" might be some of the most wicked focal points of this record, it is rather satisfying to be able to absorb the more atmospheric leanings of the record. This whole spectrum of tempos is on extravagant display on the sprawling epoch "The Bloodred Shores of Enoshima", a track that shifts from world-rending triumph to somber spoken word until it slowly crawls back from the mire with immense desire to return back to the aforementioned triumph (which it does in the most spine-chilling of ways).
To give a succinct yes-or-no as to whether or not you should jam this (and mayhaps nullify the entire point of this needlessly difficult yet ridiculously brief review) the answer is this-do you enjoy Japanese folk/history and massive, swelling symphonies? Do you enjoy the idea of Japan's towering spires, dense thickets and ornate architecture being populated by thousands of deft samurai with you being placed amongst them? Do you enjoy cheap gas station sushi while watching Howl's Moving Castle on a 24 hour loop?
If to any of these you answered with "yes" then please, my friend. Jam this, and prepare your sword. A land of blood, death, and honor awaits.