PL 165 04301YEAR:
2009COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Sammy Salminen - vocals * Tuomos Keskinen - guitars, vocals * Juha 'Juice' Wahlsten - guitars, vocals * Mika Rajala - bass, vocals * Timo Rajala - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 We Paint December * 02 Far From Grace * 03 Chasing Shadows * 04 High Hopes * 05 Liar * 06 Lodestar * 07 Tears With A Smile * 08 Not Quite Sober * 09 Nicole * 10 Wait * 11 FarewellRATING: WEBLINKS: www.ancarasite.com
Two years ago I spun some written web warblings about Finnish metallers Ancara. Their sophomore album 'Beyond The Dark' was released on the small High & Loud label, the band return in 2009 with 'Chasing Shadows' on an equally small DKS Music label. Just why this band can't find a home on a bigger label is a surprise to me. There is either too little spare cash going around up there in Finland, or there are too many good bands on offer. Whatever the situation, the band deliver another useful album, perhaps not as heavy as before, somewhere between Free Spirit
in style. Guitarist Samuel Hjelt has departed Ancara and hooked up with fellow Finns Kings Of Modesty
, replaced by Tuomos Keskinen. A couple of things I should point out.. the production wavers a bit in quality, the drums sound flat at best, and the vocals sound a bit 'hard', what I mean by that is that they are quite upfront in the mix, and it's unsure whether some 'effect' has been applied. Possibly, but you'd be hard pressed to know. Also, the general guitar sound has been watered down.
Ancara are unsure what type of band they are on this album. They change styles frequently, and if you had an opinion of them as a heavy metal band, then that may have softened after listening to 'Chasing Shadows'. On occasion, they venture down the acoustic/electric road a la Free Spirit
, especially with songs like 'High Hopes' and 'Tears With A Smile' but it just doesn't convince. Much better is the pairing of 'Far From Grace' and 'Nicole', which rocks a little harder and faster than usual. 'Lodestar' and 'Not Quite Sober' add a degree of bluesy swagger into the mix, this works quite well for them. 'We Paint December' is the band's first single from the album, and I think they've got it right in terms of the selection policy. 'Liar' and 'Wait' combine harder riffing amid lighter verses, but the results aren't stunning in my opinion.
Look, the basic overview here is, we have a good band on our hands, but the songs are (quite frankly) uninteresting. I had to go back and have a listen to 'Beyond The Dark' to find out the differences. The major difference is the lack of heaviness, and the production values. It's not too late for this band to repair things, hopefully they get it right on the next one.
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