Rating:
8.1
Negative - Neon
2 June 2010


01. No One Can Save Me Tonight
02. End Of The Line
03. Love That I Lost
04. Blood On Blood
05. Believe
06. Celestial Summer
07. Jealous Sky
08. Days I'm Living For
09. Since You've Been Gone
10. Kiss Of Hope
11. Fucking Worthless
12. Neon Rain


It has been too many years since I've heard that unmistakable sound of Finnish melancholic metal/hard rock echo through my mind. I had never expected that release to come from Negative's latest Neon, as I always thought their past production was just too flimsy for my taste, but it seems I have been proven wrong, thankfully! The guys take me on a journey that makes me yearn for that mildly-used 1970s convertible, ready to drive away into the endless horizon with pounding, melancholic metal to throw away my life's disappointments into the wind.

And what an opener "No One Can Save Me Tonight" is. Like standing face to face with your entire life near a cliff overlooking the city at sunset, Negative open the album by kicking that life right off the edge. With a classy arrangement that focuses on anticipation mixed with immediately memorable guitar riffs, this is the kind of song that I knew after the first listen, but still yearn for more. Jonne Aaron's vocals are as polished and exuberant as I can recall, mourning that past life with as much vigor as that first breath one takes after being saved from drowning. With perfectly timed breathy moments, a near song-ending scream that I can't help but throw a fist in the air to (good thing I have a convertible, right?), Jonne finds that thrilling balance of pained maturity and wild youth. Drop in a brief, explosive guitar solo that I could see coming from a mile away but still could not avoid falling for, and not even five minutes in and Negative have thrown all my beloved hard rock-infused melancholic metal moments at me with energetic precision.

Now that my heart was already on my sleeve, the next three songs take their own approach to that similar mix of loss, rebirth, and production that seems to know no mistakes. "End Of The Line" pulls the strings of pride, reminding me leaving it all behind is the only way to maintain a sense of self, while "Love That I Lost," with its self-explanatory lyrical theme, is a pounding, rhythmic celebration that uses Jonne's vocals to claw at even those who try to ignore all need for love, no matter how insubstantial it is. And with a start like Larry's seamlessly chosen guitar notes and a backdrop of simple, somber keys, "Blood On Blood" is that song of remembrance that bleeds through the air as those ever-fleeting moments of feeling invincible and young seem so real still yet so distant at the same time.

Much of the rest of Neon is a satisfying, if not as memorable, mix of ballads, Aaron's passionate and melancholic voice, as well as an expected return to uptempo rockers like "Since You've Been Gone." However, surprising to me, the last two songs finish out the album in a great, if not unexpected way. All I can do is pretend I'm at a wedding reception with a song like "Fucking Worthless" playing as the married couple begins their first dance, and watching the two roar with laughter and tears as the song shifts from quiet acoustic guitars to head-swaying "na-na-na's" toward its end. Finish out the album with a disconcerting yet reflective ode to the end of youth, with guest vocalist/speaker Kirsti Anna-Urpa, and I find myself on a wild mood swing of emotions, something unusually impressive for what really is a easy disc to digest and fall under its spell.

If you've missed the excellence of the first years of the 2000s, with bands like Lullacry, Charon, and To/Die/For, have a heart for a touch of that 1980s-infused glam and have ever smiled and cried at the same time for the things you've given up as you've aged a bit past youth, I'd recommend this one to you. It's a reminder that sometimes the best way to know yourself is to throw it all into the air, so you can finally see before you those basic things that move you the most again.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Negative
Album: Neon


 


written by dismaleuphony | 31.10.2010



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saja - 02.12.2010 at 18:52  
Excellent writing,thx man
JCJen7 - 04.02.2011 at 07:18  
Just might get my vote for Hard Rock album of the year. This is ridiculously good music. And helped by the fact that 2010 sucked for rock!
omjaimes - 29.04.2012 at 19:02  
Is actually a very good album, consistent, balanced and honest. musically powerful. Because it is commercial music, few can recognize these virtues
Teravolt_Danny - 09.12.2013 at 08:05  
This is actually probably my leash favorite Negative album. My favorites are Sweet and Deceitful and Karma Killer. "Angels Won't Lie" off of Sweet and Deceitful is probably one of their most underrated songs, so beautiful and epic.

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