Jussi Venäläinen – guitars
Juhana Heinonen – bass and backup vocals
Jouni Matilainen – lead vocals
Mika Oinonen – guitars and backup vocals
Iiro Karjalainen – drums
1. Total Lack of Communication
2. Meant to be Broken
Offering a glimpse into the band’s musical shift from death metal to a more thrash Mmetal inspired style, Finland’s RE-ARMED’s new single/EP Total Lack of Communication left me with mixed emotions: while the music is pretty good, I feel that it would’ve worked better if vocalist Jouni Matilainen had used a less screechy modern metal style. Had the band decided to mix these new ideas with the old gruffer, deeper vocal style used on their previous two records,it would’ve worked better for me. Still, the music here works despite some predictable modern metal patterns which make the band sound undistinguishable from your typical Hot Topic band.
Total Lack of Communication is not a radical departure in terms of RE-ARMED’s sound, as most of the musical elements to be found here were already in use during the band’s previous outings. Nevertheless, the EP does signal a shift in style in terms of dropping most of the Death Metal elements of the past in favor a catchier, and as a result more formulaic, style. Production-wise, the sound is clear and crisp, as opposed to the darker sounds found in, say, Rottendam, the band’s last outing. The shift becomes pretty clear once the grinding sounds of the title track kick the EP off: fast drumming and guitar riffing are counterpointed by the more metalcore-ish vocal style, slowing down for a breakdown in order to shout the chorus. I appreciate the song’s thrash metal inspired sections, and wish that the band had focused a bit more on those. The band slows down for the last song on the EP, “Unhuman”, which is as close to the death metal sounds of the past as the band gets, despite the vocal style. The song is pretty strong musically, with awesome guitar arpeggios, and it reminded me of World ov Worms- era ZYKLON.
This EP demonstrates that RE-ARMED are not afraid to experiment with their sound, and I admire that; however, I wish the musical experimentation were less commercially inclined. They could just drop the metalcore-inspired elements such as breakdowns and insistence on adding catchy choruses, instead of their past death metal inclinations. I noticed that on some areas the band used keyboards, which would be interesting to see if they expand on that, while bringing back some their old, more aggresive approach to the vocals.