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TreaTmenT - Sagacity

TreaTmenT
Sagacity
by Mark Machlay at 16 June 2020, 4:14 AM

Finnish progressive thrash metallers TREATMENT recently released their new album “Sagacity” and they have something of an interesting road getting to their second album. Forming in November 2005 in Riipi, Finland, drummer Vesa Puunuvaara and Lassi Lintula on guitar got together to mostly play cover songs from METALLICA and IRON MAIDEN under the name HARROW. In May 2006, vocalist Juha Kemppainen guitarist Juha-Pekka Mikkola joined, changed their name to NORTHWIND and started focusing on original work, sounding more like SENTENCED and AMORPHIS. Mikkola soon left but they found childhood friends Joona Riipi to play lead guitar and Tony Tenoluoto to finally fill the vacant bassist position and gained a heavier more thrash metal influence.

The group known then as NORTHWIND released their self-titled first demo in 2007 but soon had to change their name to TREATMENT due to a band already possessing the NORTHWIND name. They released a few more demos in 2010, 2011, and 2012. More membership shakeups took place, dropping founding guitarist Lintula, adding Jani Nurmela of SEGMENTUM briefly but then leaving in less than a year, all while the band were recording their full length debut 2015s “No Way Out”. In 2016, Tenoluoto seemed to have left after not returning for 6 months after requesting the band go on hiatus and was replaced with Riipi’s older brother Jarno Riipi of OVERTAKE on bass. After the album was finished in 2018-2019, they sought out a keyboardist to further their sound and found one in another old friend, Ville Sokero in January 2020.

Now releasing their sophomore effort “Sagacity”, seems an apt title for their new record. Having come through a lot of uncertainty with membership changes they seem to be on an upward trajectory and more positive direction in general after coming to an understanding. I’ll admit, I did not really know what to expect when a band’s main influences are old school thrash metal bands such as TESTAMENT, PANTERA, and SEPULTURA but also list more progressive and theatrical bands such as DREAM THEATER, RUSH and NIGHTWISH. Opening track “Forshadowed” further shrouded the mystery with an instrumental, orchestral and majestic track. From then on the listener is treated to a blistering mix of fast thrash riffs, odd time shifts, melodically contoured clean tones and soaring melodies. “As Above So Below” is perfectly picked as the lead single from the album, starting out with a complex, clean, heavily delayed guitar passage before diving into introspetive lyrics delivered in both clean and slightly gremlin-like tones, bringing back the complex guitar passage in distorted tone, expertly executed. The heavier passages are reminiscent of PANTERA while the clean sections remind me of a something youtube guitar sensation Rob Scallon or fellow progressive metallers PORPHYRIAvwould create.

Unfortunately, outside of their lead single, there isn’t a lot of other particularly exciting tracks. They are suitably complex, but nothing that stands out as another magnum opus. There is plenty of head-banging and break-neck odd time guitar runs though. Joona Riipi guitar skills are particularly impressive, especially when it comes to his solo work. Interestingly, while the music was recorded before keyboardist Vile Sokero had come on board, the songs will now almost certainly take on a new dynamic. It would be fascinating to hear the group live with a new instrumental element added in. Juha Kemppainen is quite interesting as well. I hear a lot melodic inflection similar to MUSE’s Matt Bellamy in his clean work and his distorted tone is suitably similar to Max Cavalera with slightly less intensity and much more understandable lyrics. The one thing that seems to hold the album back is the flat production. There seems to be very little dynamic range in the mix resulting in a flat frequency response and what sounds like a bit of clipping. An unfortunate victim of the loudness war. I really dig the blend of styles that the band put together which might bring me back to listening to it, but the fatigue of enduring the production may limit my subsequent spins.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Foreshadowed
2. Hermes
3. As Above So Below
4. Fragmented Self
5. The Truth
6. Thrice
7. Chokehold
8. Card 53
9. Dorian Gray
10. Oppression
Lineup:
Juha Kemppainen – Vocals
Joona Riipi – Guitar and Backing Vocals
Jarno Riipi – Bass
Ville Sokero – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Vesa Puunuvaara - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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