Look to the left. What do you see? One of the worst album covers of the year is what I see, and thus my expectations for Empress of the Cold Stars, the second release from Finland’s Perpetual Rage, are tempered. The fact that I’m reviewing this is a mixed blessing: on the one hand, we here at AMG aren’t subjecting you to a review of Wizard’s newest, since we didn’t get it. On the other hand, there’s this. So let’s sit back, buckle up, and figure out if the band plays as if they are in a perpetual rage, or if listening to this multiple times over the span of a week puts me in one. And let’s take a stab at the cliché “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Empress of the Cold Stars opens with the epic-sounding “Dragonlancer.” I don’t know if it’s a Dungeons & Dragons song, but it starts big for the first 45 seconds, with foreboding synth patches leading into pounding double bass drums and a thick riff. So those first 45 seconds are pretty good, but then the vocals come in, and things fall apart in a hurry. It’s like being on a date, and the girl is fairly nice, and pretty enough, and then you look closer and woah! She’s only got three fingers. Dammit, you think. But while in that case I could just move on, here I need to soldier on. Sadly, there’s no point in describing standout tracks here, because there aren’t any. Check out the video for “Mesmeric Silence” I have graciously included below, and you’ll hear what I mean. The best thing I can say about the rest of the album is that all the other songs are shorter.

The best way to describe Perpetual Rage is to say the band sounds like an amateur version of Bruce Dickinson in his solo days. Empress of the Cold Stars is Chemical Wedding written by beginners. The songs flow poorly, the drumming is stilted and unmusical, completely lacking feel, and the vocals, while clearly influenced by Sir Bruce, are basically a bad karaoke version thereof. There are blatantly obvious Iron Maiden/Bruce Dickinson influences here, but the band just doesn’t have the talent to come close to paying proper homage to the metal gods. Singer Tomi Viiltola is the biggest problem, a man who has clearly had no vocal training and hasn’t put much effort into self-improvement, but does his not-very-good best to channel his inner Bruce. Kari Hyvärinen, despite having an umlaut in his name, has less feel behind the drum kit than a man with his fingertips sanded off. Whomever is playing bass is unobtrusive and inconsequential. Being a bass player myself (who isn’t), I’ll be charitable and leave him out of this.

The best part of the band is guitarist Petri Hallikainen, who actually possesses some talent. His guitar tone is solid, his riffs can be infectious, he shows some originality in his solos, and he’s got the most musical feel out of anyone in the band. Sadly, he’s overshadowed by the badness described above. But there are a ton of bands in Finland, and maybe he can latch onto a good one based on his body of work. Hallikainen is the one who allows the songs on Empress of the Cold Stars to come even remotely close to a Bruce Dickinson solo record, meaning he could be a Finnish Roy Z.

So when it’s all said and done, yes, in this case you absolutely can judge a book by its cover. And while Empress of the Cold Stars doesn’t put me in a perpetual rage, it does make me kind of sad – sad that I didn’t carry on in my old band days to write songs as shitty as these and somehow garner record label attention. After a week of Perpetual Rage, I was left wishing that damned Wizard promo had shown up after all…

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Inverse Records
Websites: facebook.com/PerpetualRage/
Releases Worldwide: June 16th, 2017

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  • The singer’s voice reminds of the the guy from the Bullet Boys but worse.

  • What a hypnotically awkward band photo.

    • GardensTale

      Dude on the right: “I swear this coat fit fine just last week!”

      • rumour_control

        Chap second from the right has his own facial tools to use at the car wash.

        • Nag Dammit

          Second from left “Guys, I got this fanny pack from Hot Topic, plus it’s black. That makes it metal, right?”

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Dude on the left: “my high school leather jacket still fits me!”

    • Dammage

      From left to to right
      1. “C’mon guys, we gotta look cool for our band photo! I didn’t get my sister’s leather coat for nothing”
      2. *Has actually been dead for 3 hours, they honor his memory with his favorite fanny pack*

      3. “I wonder if anyone will realize my beard is taped on…”
      4. “So this will look good in black and white right?”

    • Strapping Old Fart

      That’s an exceptionally good way to describe it. What the fuck is going on? Why are their postures so awkward and tense? My guess is those dudes are being held at gunpoint by the actual band who wisely refuse to appear in the photo. They’re probably dead now.

  • welyyt

    Bummer, but I really don’t understand how a band can look at a cover this bad and say, “Yeah, we’ll go with that.”.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Smell the Glove syndrome?

      • I’ve seen worse.

        • rumour_control

          Indeed. I’ve smelt worse.

    • Zach Ward

      That honestly seems to happen a lot. It’s very questionable.

    • Nukenado

      Ahem… Dance of Death.

      • GardensTale

        I love and live Iron Maiden, but they need to hire someone to take all decisions on visual style and artwork for them.

        • Nukenado

          I cannot fathom how Maiden chose the artwork despite the artist saying that it wasn’t finished…

          • GardensTale

            I believe they liked the uncanny valley effect of the corpse-like people.

          • Nukenado

            Hmm, that makes more sense. Although to me it just looks like really bad graphics…

          • GardensTale

            Well, yeah, but we’re not Iron “12 cataracts” Maiden

          • Nukenado

            Wait, what?

          • GardensTale

            I mean all six of them don’t see very well to have picked such an album cover.

          • Nukenado

            Ah… I see (hah!).

          • Most of the fan-made art that popped up in retrospect actually ended up far better.

  • El_Cuervo

    Looks like the edgy 90s sequel to an 80s 8-bit game.

    • Nukenado

      The American SNES version of some obscure Master System JRPG.

      • Nag Dammit

        Hong Kong ’97.

        • Nukenado

          Hong Kong ’07 ~Revenge of the Fucking Ugly Reds~
          A top down JRPG in they style of Ys.

  • Wes Allen

    Your review reminds me of another sagacious adage: “Don’t judge a name by its umlaut.”

  • The Akerstache

    My favorite part of the cover is how, since it’s drawn so poorly, the “Empress” looks like she has one short leg and one long leg.

    • Reese Burns

      And one of her eyes is noticeably higher than the other.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      And no neck.

  • Heldarc

    Vocalist must know some dirty secret on other members, otherwise I do not get why they keep him in the band.

  • Mollusc
  • Grymm

    I appreciate all five different keys that the singer chooses to utilize… at once.

  • It’s a shame that they couldn’t write better music. I actually like the balance of the mix. I tried to find something positive to say about the song itself but cannot. At least the album cover is amusing and the band photo is something I hope I never forget.

  • Matt slatz

    When your troll doll dies, and he’s lived a evil life, THATS the thing that is coming for his soul (awful, awful cover)

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I was looking at the album cover, thinking thre’s no way you can get lamer than that and then I scrolled down and was shocked by that band picture… Hell, now I’m afraid to listen to the embedded track.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Bruce Dickinson? This is so bad it sounds like Blaze Bayley!

  • sir_c

    The album cover character looks pretty much like one of the villains in the Danny Phantom cartoon series my kids watch.

  • jetblindracos

    I like it.Not the cover for sure,nor the band photo but I had heard worse.

  • beurbs

    The vocals on the embedded track are better than the majority of Book of Souls.

  • Pulsating Steel

    From the studio in Finland: “Hay guys, we killed it! Great song! That’s our single. Now, what should we call it?”

  • Leevancleverthanyou

    G’day snowflakes….

    So you can dish the shit but you can’t take it…..lol

    The Guinea pigs were nice but it would have been actually amusing if you’d sent me to a YouTube video of the whole today is the day album……

    Anyway in light of recent events I have renamed AMG as Anxious Menstruating Girls……

    Adiós ladies….


    • Reese Burns


      • Grymm

        Long story short, he doesn’t like guinea pigs.

        • Or hipsters.

          • Grymm

            Or constructive criticism.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Or commas, apparently.

        • Reese Burns

          I mean, we’re all making fun of him… but is this dude okay? Is this a cry for help?

    • Nukenado

      “Snowflakes” check
      “lol” check
      “Girls”? (Really? Masculinity insults? That’s elementry school levels of childish.)

      I sense a channeling of YouTube comments. Unfortunately, most people here have at least a master’s degree in demonic summoning intervention, so you’ll have to try harder.

  • Patrick Bertlein

    That was the dumbest comment ever. I was with a girl who was missing a few fingers, and she was the greatest sex I ever had. I won’t go into details, but I can assure you that you likely haven’t had sex this good.