Whispered - Thousand Swords review
|Release date:||February 2010|
01. Intro - Hajimari
02. Thousand Swords
04. Of Honor
05. Dead Cold Inside
06. Fear Never Within
08. Wrath Of Heaven
09. Blade In The Snow
When describing this band to a fellow metalhead friend, I once said "Imagine if Norther f*cked a Japanese version of [band]Turisas[band], Whispered would be their bastard baby."
To this day I stand behind that statement as Whispered harnesses the basic framework of Finnish extreme power metal and takes it to Japan, to be re-worked and built into a fanciful Samurai Temple filled with traditional Japanese instruments, choirs and cheesy keyboards. In other words Whispered's debut album, Thousand Swords features an interesting blend of extreme power metal with folk and symphonic elements, of Japanese theme. It can be quite cheesy but it is also something very unique and epic.
As with most symphonic-inspired releases Thousand Swords starts off with a purely symphonic intro, only this time its with Traditional Japanese instruments, that take you away from your urban existence to the peaceful, green and misty fields of Japan's countryside. But the peace is soon broken when "Thousand Swords" hits your soundwaves and suddenly you're in the midst of a heavy metal themed Samurai battle. Fist-pumping thrashy riffs are mixed with energizing power leads that are somewhat reminiscent of 90's video game soundtracks. Traditional Japanese instruments bring an atmospheric exotic flavour into the mix and the keyboards bring equal parts epic and cheesy. On the top of it all is the finishing touch of epic Japanese Samurai lyrical themes.
"Blade in the Snow" is a perfect representation of Whispered's general sound on the album and easily their best song. It perfectly combines all elements of influence and different musical styles into a cohesive beautiful 15 minute masterpiece. Most of the songs carry this style whisking you away to Japan to experience epic samurai battles portrayed in the form of metal. The album rarely gets boring with such varied songs, some fast-paced high energy songs, some ballad-esque, and of course the multi-minute epics. Though at times it seems a little too varied, preventing Whispered from solidifying and trademarking their sound. "Blindfold" is one example of this, it is a very typical Finnish extreme power song with Whispereds unique style almost entirely erased.
At times folk elements come off too strong and are almost random such as in "Thousand Swords" and the feeble attempt to blend folk into "Blindfold". As a whole the vocals sound uncannily similar to fellow Finns, Alexi/Petri, but slightly weaker. Also the video game style leads/sound takes away from the emotionally affecting part of their music and replaces it all with cheese. But despite these flaws, the pros outweigh the cons in the end.
Whispered is another example of how you can mix almost any style of music with metal and it can sound good, in this case traditional Japanese. The video game-style sound makes some of the songs lose their serious emotion but it does have a high energy and it can be fun. If you're a fan of extreme power metal or just want to hear something with a unique twist Thousand Swords is a great and entertaining album and shows promise for Whispered's future.
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