Finality – Technocracy Review

There was once a time not so long ago when, if you’d asked me, I would have said that Iced Earth was my favorite band. The band’s mastery of the power/thrash genre was legendary, with their initial string of seven full-length albums across fourteen years standing as one of the strongest runs in metal history as far as I’m concerned. The combination of Jan Schaffer’s godlike rhythm work and the over-the-top vocals from any of the band’s many talented vocalists over the years (with Matt Barlow reigning supreme, of course) was one of the things that allowed the metal genre to sink it’s teeth into me in the first place. For this reason, the band will always hold a special place in my heart, regardless of what current events may bring. I’m not opposed to listening to my IE records in the aftermath of Schaffer’s bizarre antics, but it would certainly be nice to find some other projects that could scratch the same itch, bands like Judicator, Silver Talon, and Project: Roenwolfe. Michigan’s Finality promises to do just that with debut full-length, Technocracy. Let’s see if they can deliver.

I remember the excitement of hearing that Into Eternity’s Stu Block was joining Iced Earth after Matt Barlow’s second departure from the band, but while the Block era provided a few good moments, I always felt that it was capable of so much more. And after spending time with Finality, I’ve been proven correct. The high-pitched vocals of former Battlecross guitarist Tony Asta and the guitar histrionics of Finality’s guitar trio reminds me of what a Stu Block-fronted Iced Earth might have sounded like if that band had been able to capture the visceral rage of its early days and had removed the fetters placed upon Block’s insane range. The embedded title track is the album’s centerpiece and longest offering, but it’s a fantastic sample of all of Finality’s strengths. Sounding like a mixture of both Iced Earth and Into Eternity, “Technocracy” features both high-speed thrash, melodic power metal passages, and several proggy breakdowns with crooning vocals.

But if you’re tempted to let some of the restrained moments on “Technocracy” scare you away from the rest of the album, fear not. Most of Technocracy is a blistering affair, starting with the stellar opening trio of “Academia,” “Finality,” and “Malevolence.” “Pain” sounds like a long-lost Block-era Into Eternity track with its schizophrenic vocal harmonies and melodic thrash groove that borders on melo-death. Penultimate number “Revelation” rages, offering a tasty contrast with epic closer “Oblivion.” The latter is a near-ballad, but features some of the album’s most compelling moments, vocally and musically.

There isn’t much to complain about here. Bands of Finality’s ilk often have a hard time keeping their albums brief, but Technocracy fights the urge to linger too long by clocking in at 48 minutes. A couple of the clean-sung vocal parts feel a bit awkward, but this is probably more an issue of taste than anything else. I couldn’t have told you that the record was produced using three guitarists, but the use of a trio (including Asta’s former Battlecross bandmate Hiran Deraniyagala) shows Finality’s commitment to the almighty riff. And that commitment fulfills itself all across Technocracy, as the guitar work ends up being the album’s greatest feature. Standout tracks include, “Academia,” “Finality,” “Malevolence,” “Technocracy,” “Pain,” and “Oblivion.”

Technocracy is a very good entry into the power/thrash (with a dash of prog) scene for Finality, but it feels like this band is just barely scratching the surface of their potential. Speaking of scratching, I’m happy to say that Finality scratches that Iced Earth itch that has been pestering me as of late, and I’m beyond excited to see how they build on this sound in the future.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-release
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: May 5th, 2023

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