SCAPES – One:Unseen:One
There’s something about Finnish gothic metal/rock that embeds itself deep into all your emotional crevices, bringing shadows and thoughts to the light, exposing areas that need attention for the betterment of life. Scapes is a duo in the recording studio (expanded to a quartet for live shows) and on their debut album "One:Unseen:One" revel in the entire genre for influences. Olli Pirkkanen handles the vocals, guitars, and drums while Iiro Gustafsson plucks away on bass, and this 7 song record has a lot of the melancholic atmosphere and heavy despair that penetrates in a way that is part Paradise Lost, part Katatonia, part Swallow the Sun depending on where each track takes you.
The opposites allow Scapes to build shades of hope and tension into their sound. It can be serene in acoustic splendor as Olli’s alternative, almost monotone melodic delivery makes "A Song of the Mountain" rich in texture, while the electric harmonies and high guitar melodies within "Unseen Infinite" add a little melo-death spark to the normal cultural, gothic metal proceedings. Occasionally the drumming elevates certain material into progressive doom heights, the guitars and bass churning the parts into this hypnotic sway – check out "The Melancholy Cycle" where Olli pulls himself above his comfortable low range and adds a ray of sunshine vocally.
"One:Unseen:One" has promise for Scapes because the band isn’t afraid to be rhythmically groove oriented when called for, doomy and tribal in spots, and not stick to what the conventional road map is supposed to be in the gothic metal/rock landscape. Olli’s guitar tone is beefy a la Evergrey during my favorite cut "Devil May Care", layering the echoing harmonies towards the song’s 6:41 timeframe in such a way that you feel your body swing and lift to another outer world dimension – at peace with the prospect of return engagements.
This will be a band to seek out and see how their songwriting unfolds.