Gothic Heavy Metal

The Man-Eating Tree – Harvest Review

The Man-Eating Tree – Harvest Review

I’m part of a small minority of metal fans that heard of Finland’s Fall of the Leafe and loved what they did. Although they began life as a black metal band, they eventually morphed into a unique type of progressive gothic metal and their 2005 Vantage album is one of my all time favorites. It had a special, moody atmosphere that I return to often (largely due to the strange but brilliant vocal work of Toumas Tuominen). Sadly, the Leafe called it a day in 2007 and their compelling style was silenced. However, from the acorn of the great Leafe arose The Man-Eating Tree, another interesting forest-themed entity with Tuominen on vocals and many of the same winning characteristics and flavor. Their 2010 album Vine was a pleasantly moody, typically Finnish exercise in melancholy gothic rock/metal and their sophomore followup Harvest is more of the same but even better. The songwriting is tighter, more focused and immediate, the moods are more pronounced and honest and the whole album clicks in a way that recalls the finer moments of Fall of the Leafe without plagiarizing their sound completely. Although most similar to Fall of the Leafe, there are also flashes of Sentenced (same drummer), lighter Opeth and late-period Katatonia. This is not a very heavy album and at times, the material barely has anything to do with metal. Even the most aggressive material here won’t rattle teeth or inspire a raised fist. The sound is more about darkened, somber moods, not exactly doom but clearly not happy either. Regardless, this is a great album and deserves to be heard by anyone who likes dark rock overflowing with mood and emotion.

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

In the wake of Sentenced it’s no surprise that Poisonblack has continued strong, with support from fans of the previous band and has become bigger and bigger in Finland and throughout the world. Many miss the tongue-in-cheek depression that went hand-in-hand with later Sentenced records, at the same time as missing the band that once was. Of Rust and Bones, the new Poisonblack record (the band that features former Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala) basically continues on with the Sentenced legacy of mid-paced heavy metal with depressing lyrics, but doesn’t do it with the same kind of conviction or freshness that was embodied by the former band.