Ilpo Paasela – Vocals
Jarno Salomaa – Guitars
Markus Forsstrom – Bass
Sameli Koykka – Drums
Tomi Ullgren – Guitars
1. The Will
4. To Exit All False
6. Blank Sunrise
7. Buried In The White
8. Our Triumph09 Among ThePines We’ll Die
Counting Hours are a five-piece Finnish depressive dark rock band who will be releasing their debut full-length album ‘The Will’ on October 23rd. They have been inspired by acts such as Katatonia, Paradise Lost, and October Tide and evoke the lost feeling of 90s gothic music. To successfully achieve their vision, the group worked with Jussi Hamalainen (Hanging Garden, The Chant, Mercury Circle) who dealt with the production and mixing. Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Primordial) took care of the mastering to make the release a fascinating combination of elements.
Whilst the ethereal clean guitars, and harsh yet melodic and sometimes even peaceful distorted guitar parts are great at first, it is soon found most songs stick to the same formula. The heartfelt and hypnotic clean vocals (think a cross between Deftones’ Chino Moreno, Maynard James Keenan, and some guy who’s a bit depressed) get equally milked, so you better like the style! Interestingly as morbid tones are sometime combined with more relaxed ones, you could say the music depicts someone coming to terms with their own death, or something similar. In that respect, the music is rather powerful and poignant. Fortunately it is still strangely likeable as whilst the tone is dark, it is far away from extreme, ugly doom metal. It is a bit like fellow Finlanders, HIM, in places but not as sentimental.
The pitchless growls will either be perceived as fun or a just little cheesy at times, maybe. (Or of course noise if you dislike the genre and others related to it). If you’re used to more hardcore black metal they will be a tiny bit tame, but not everyone wants to listen to music about burning buildings down and mangling people, right? Rather typically for a band of this style, the musicianship is perfectly competent, but is a million miles away from flashy and virtuoso. That will be expected from many if not the vast majority of goth rock fans, but maybe some more adventurous riffs would be appreciated. There are some really creative and cool ones but perhaps sadly, they are highlights rather than the norm. Unfortunately, the ending of the album is pretty anticlimactic which is a little disappointing even if the album isn’t a progressive one.
In conclusion, this is good music and there are certain vocal notes that whilst mildly dissonant are gorgeous and are well worth the wait. It would be nice if there was more variety, especially in terms of tempo and tone, but I’m not saying all songs sound the same. This is definitely for fans of goth rock, but I’m sure alternative metal fans (I’m bringing up Deftones again) will appreciate it, too. If you’re looking for a genuinely exciting experience, often found in black metal, you might want to look elsewhere. Rather, these people are about creating cool moods and vibes, whilst taking musicality very seriously. Recommended!