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Return to Void – Infinite Silence

Return to Void
Infinite Silence
by Eric Poulin at 04 February 2021, 1:34 AM

RETURN TO VOID is a progressive metal based out of Finland and who have been around since 2015. This is their third full-length album entitled “Infinite Silence” which was released through Inverse Records on December 20th, 2020. I was only vaguely familiar with the band as I do recall reading a while back that this project was originally an acoustic one that covered songs by Bruce Dickinson, but eventually strayed away from that direction to becoming more of a heavy/progressive metal outfit.

The opener “Aliveness” does not dwell on a long introduction, but rather goes directly into a plethora of melodies which transition in some rather heavy rhythm parts. I think the easiest comparison would be that the slower portions have some resemblances to EVERGREY. The vocal tones of Markku Pihlaja sound a little like Tobias Samett (from EDGUY) and could easily fit in a pure heavy metal band or more a power metal-oriented ensemble. The choruses did remind me a bit of arguably he most underrated progressive band on the planet, VANDENPLAS. While most of the songs keeps a relatively stable tempo, there are 2 very passionate solos, showing off the great skills of one Saku Hakuli and some crazy bass lines too by Pasi Hakuli.

The following number “Stone Heart“ borrows on some of the patterns of the preceding track, but the bass lines are definitely more audible this time around. It is arguably the main component of the entire song, instead of relying on massive shredding or overbearing melodies. It is more mid-tempo ands sounds like something from the album “Chemical Wedding” that Bruce released over 2 decades ago. The keyboards make an entry on the album as well, even though they are quite subtle.

“Resistance” is a bit darker and edgier in its atmospheres, but also relies a bit more on the hard rock side of things, than the progressive realm. The song has an easy-listening aspect to it, in that it does not have too many complexities (other than some more rapid notes on the guitars). Making sure we do not forget that they can a heavier sound, you have “Freed from Illusion” which has some distinct lower tones in the rhythm guitars and with its slower speed reminded me of the early days of ELDRITCH. The song has a bit of Jorn Lande in it as well, the retro stylings of early 1990s metal.

If you enjoy more punchy songs, you should enjoy “Equal Freaks”, not only is a bit faster, but it has more of that heavy metal approach was the essence of SUPERIOR in the late 1990s/early 2000s, a band I thoroughly enjoyed. The track shows the versatility the band possesses in controlling the tempos of the songs extremely well. Especially, when you have 2 songs that could easily be on a power/progressive metal album in “Foresters” (one of the most energetic songs on the entire record) and the very melodic “Mosaic of Light and Shadow” that fans of PAGAN’S MIND should appreciate, as it extremely well crafted and combines a very solid chorus with a great number of harmonies (even some choirs).

Finally, the album closer “Departed and Arrived” has some of that pounding bass and to a certain extent that ominous atmosphere that has made FATES WARNING such a legendary band in the genre over the last 35+ years. Obviously, considering this project used to cover songs by the almighty Bruce, you hear some of those influences and intricacies in the vocals, but the project is nothing like those recordings, this is well-designed and controlled progressive metal. I wish to stress that, because this album never goes too deep into a million notes and off-tempo instrumental journeys, which is actually a good thing, as you do not want all bands in this genre to sound the same. The production is top-notch and the songs flow well. Maybe a few even faster songs would have been nice, considering most of the songs rely on mid-tempo structures, but it is still an enjoyable listen.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Aliveness
2. Stone Heart
3. Resistance
4. Freed from Illusion
5. Equal Freaks
6. Full Circle
7. Foresters
8. Mosaic of Light and Shadow
9. Damaged
10. Departed and Arrived 
Lineup:
Pasi Hakuli - Bass
Kalle Kukkonen - Drums
Saku Hakuli - Guitars
Antti Huopainen - Keyboards
Markku Pihlaja - Vocals
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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Edited 15 April 2021
 

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