In the world of screamo, post-hardcore, or melodic hardcore -- whatever term you prefer -- many bands thrive on contrasts. Clean or "normal" vocals are contrasted with tortured, metalcore-like screaming; melodic moments can be followed by dense, harsh, vicious sensory assault. And for listeners who enjoy those heaven/hell and melody/ferocity contrasts, a good band to keep an eye on is My Fate. That isn't to say that Happiness Is Fiction -- the Finnish quintet's generally decent, if imperfect, debut album -- is screamo per se; actually, this CD is best described as alternative metal with elements of death metal/black metal, thrash, and hardcore. But like so many screamo vocalists, Antti Ojanen (My Fate's lead singer) loves to demonstrate that the sane and the insane are equally important to his artistry. One minute, Ojanen is singing in a conventional fashion; the next minute, he goes for a deep, guttural, death metal-style growl. And that demon-summoning growl is one of the things that separates Ojanen from screamo singers; while screamo vocalists usually offer a combination of "normal" singing and cathartic screaming, Ojanen fluctuates between "normal" singing and a growl that Wes Craven would be proud of. Clearly, Ojanen's colleagues in My Fate -- Mikko Lehtinen and Jaakko Jarvensivu on guitar, Roope Lehtinen on bass, and Vilho Rajala on drums -- share his appreciation of the kindness/cruelty juxtaposition; throughout this album, My Fate goes back and forth between dark, haunting melodies and ferocious, densely claustrophobic sensory assault. Happiness Is Fiction (which was recorded in 2002 before being released in Finland in 2003 and the United States in 2004) isn't quite as consistent as it could have been; some of My Fate's songs hold up better than others. But the 37-minute CD has more ups than downs, and for the most part, Happiness Is Fiction paints an attractive picture of the Scandinavian alternative metal unit.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson