DE LIRIUM’S ORDER – Singularity pre-listening @ Bar Base, Helsinki, 30.03.2019

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Promotional image by Hannu Huhtamo

De Lirium’s Order has been around since 1998, though they’ve been fairly quiet in recent years. With their first release since 2012 on the horizon for next month, we decided to visit Bar Base in Helsinki on March 30th, 2019, to give the new album a listen and talk with the band.

We met up in the Jaloviina-kellari at Base at 16:30, and people were bustling about, getting the last minute details ready. Present were band mastermind Juha Kupiainen, vocalist Kari Olli, and guest vocalist, Mikael Salo, whom we can’t seem to shake, no matter how hard we try!

Read our interview with the above three over HERE!

 

I’m a total stranger to this band myself, but in the right time of year (aka not-winter), you can get me out of my secluded hermit hole to listen to something new. While there was an option to listen to the album beforehand, I opted to attend the event with a fresh ear. Here are some thoughts after the first listen-through:

1. I Have Awakened (intro)
This opening track has an almost Iron Maiden feel in the guitars. Think Seventh Son of a Seventh Son -era, the classic and arguably best sound. It’s a nice translation of an influence in an instrumental intro track for a heavier band.

2. Ayatollah
The first track kicks up the energy, introducing Olli on growls immediately. The technical death metal isn’t much my thing, but the sharp drums, pauses, and then symphonics toward the end were all tickling me the right way. Technical ain’t lying – the guitar-work is fantastic.

3. Singularity
The song starts out slow, with droning melodic feedback sounds. I found myself liking the pacing of the music. It’s also the first track where Salo appears on vocals. A little over halfway through, there’s a strange but awesome piano interlude. There is also an intriguing part with double-kick and clean vocals toward the end, and a deep spoken outro.

4. Surfaced
This is a much speedier track off the start, with fast guitars and snappy drums. There’s some more of the Iron Maiden-y guitars near halfway through as the track slows down, followed by a surprisingly long bass solo – that’s unique and I approve! This song is a good example of technical skill – there is some furious fretwork that doesn’t shy away from tasteful soloing. This is also track #2 with Salo on guest vocals.

5. The Billion Year Contract
I enjoy Salo’s vocals the best in this song so far. In the earlier songs, his voice has been mixed a bit abrasively with the rest of the music, but in this track the balance is really nice. The guitar isn’t afraid to creep around either. This track has a bit more of a consistent rhythm to start, but does take a turn into speed-metal territory for a short while.

6. Acoustic Medley
The album changes up completely here, with an acoustic medley. The guitars are very flamenco, which is cool. There’s also some accordion in there for a moment, which changes the sound up again, but it works pretty well! The solo sounds familiar as well; I think it came from the last track.

7. Orion’s Cry
Back into the heavy shit now! This song features classic droning guitar on top of some really creative drumming. Salo’s vocals are very eerie when he comes in, and I feel a touch of Ayreon influence perhaps. Overall, the song has a great vibe and I see why they picked it for a single.

8. Piazzolla
I know nothing about Astor Piazzolla, other than that he was a famous tango composer. So I can’t actually say if this is a cover or a tribute; shame on my naivete. It’s really melodic with plenty of guitar shred, and the accordion makes another appearance! I’d also say the growls sound the best on this track.

9. The End of Time
The longest track on the album is definitely the final track. They’ve saved the best for last, starting slow and heavy. Salo’s voice comes echoing in as the music fades; the clocks ticking is a nice effect. The whole song has a pretty interesting soundscape. The song picks up again, getting a bit thrashy, and I found myself wondering about the lyrics, thinking there might be some lines worth checking out. There are quite a few change-ups in the song – Salo’s second part feels very Dream Theater, there are some more thrash drums on and off, and it’s got a fairly generally proggy feel overall. In a good way.

 

Following the album, we were then shown two videos the band had recorded:

1. Ayatollah
This video is set in a barren, rocky area, and we were told it was from all the way back in 2016. The videography is really well done, and it’s nice to see some bands getting creative and setting their video somewhere scenic. This video isn’t out yet, so stay tuned!

2. Singularity
Music videos are often pretty lame these days, but this really isn’t half bad. Created by Hızal Çelik, the fractal video portrays a cool, futuristic equalizer thing going on, with circuit boards, stacks, cities, digital space… whatever it is, it’s pretty psychedelic. To be fair, I’d almost expect this more from a band like Carpenter Brut or Perturbator, but nevertheless, it’s certainly in-keeping with the “Singularity” concept.

 

My overall feelings then? Well, as someone who’s not a big listener of technical death metal, I would go so far as to say that albums like this might help to bridge the gap for listeners who can’t quite make their way into this genre. More traditional heavy metal influences like Iron Maiden and the inclusion of Salo’s clean vocals help to create an atmosphere that’s welcoming to people who don’t like their music purely heavy; it is heavy, there’s just more to the music than pure heaviness. There’s nothing generic or mainstream about their sound, and the instrumental work is fantastic. The mix is a tad rough at times but the grittiness suits the sound for the most part. There could perhaps be a touch more melodic quality in the growling vocals, but on the whole this is a really solid album that I recommend checking out.

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