Another 2017 headbanger arises this week from the Land of a Thousand Metal Bands in the form of Noumena’s fifth album, Myrrys. The album title (meaning “ruckus” or “uproar” in old Finnish), paired with the striking cover art, portend a collection of punishers tinged by the savagery and ferociousness that has come to be expected of exports from the frigid north.
Indeed, Myrrys does deliver on these expectations, with Scandinavian flavor permeating each and every entry. Rarely is a chunky riff without a screaming lead guitar, or a punchy rhythm completed without a deft fill. Guitarists Ville Lamminaho and Tuukka Tuomela sing through their fingers throughout the record, weaving bleak, yet melodic textures over which Antti Haapanen spins harrowing tales in an ultra-chesty growl – perfectly personifying the beast depicted on the album’s cover. Vocalist Suvi Uura also returns from the band’s previous effort, balancing Haapanen’s ire with angelic melody and harmony, shining brightest on “Murhehuone” with her melismatic cry.
The most unique and unconventional aspect of Myrrys can be garnered from a glance through the track list. With song titles like “Kirouksen Kantaja” and “Syvällä Vedessä”, one might accurately assume that, lyrically, the entire album is written and sung in Finnish. This is an interesting stylistic choice which, on one hand, may dissuade some who place high value on lyrical content or not needing to run the entire album through a hit-or-miss online translator. On the other hand, though, this element does give the album a unique voice, and really helps to add authenticity and honesty to the work. Either way, the fact remains that the majority of the band’s listenership is domestic – not to mention that Haapanen’s growl is near-indecipherable in any language – so the decision to keep the album in the native tongue is a pretty safe bet, and it does lead to some quite pleasant moments whenever Uura steps in front of the microphone.
The worst thing that can be said about Myrrys is that it doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t been heard before. The driving, lead guitar-driven aggressors and bleak, plodding gloom-sowers found on the album all fit snugly into the footsteps in the snow left by plenty of other countrymen such as Insomnium or Swallow the Sun. While the Finnish-language lyrics are relatively fresh, the vocal content alone cannot carry the album to masterpiece heights. Still, too much fault can never be found in competently showcased cultural pride, and the musical patriotism on display by Noumena on their latest release is certain to attract plenty of like-minded metalheads.