Fall of the Leafe

Volvere

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Finland's unpredictable Fall of the Leafe continue to pursue an eclectic heavy metal agenda with their fourth album, 2004's Volvere. Having started out with roots firmly planted in their nation's peculiar taste for combining traditional folk music with death metal, Fall of the Leafe, like many Finnish bands, have evolved in a far more mainstream direction as of late. In fact, they don't just flirt with mainstream rock elements these days, but make them an integral part of their musical mission on Volvere. Easily their most accessible work to date, it sees melodic guitars, crooning gothic vocals, and supporting keyboards figuring prominently, if judiciously, in the arrangements to hard rock singles like "A Waiting Room Snap," "If Mirrors Leave Men in Crumbs," "More Like a Situation," and "Security Locks Are Good." Despite their clearly enigmatic and unwieldy song titles, these offerings are generally even more straightforward and light of touch than, say, fellow countrymen like Amorphis, and certainly a far cry from the still quite heavy Sentenced. Sure enough, except for a wildcard in "Hell's Silence" (which retrieves the aforementioned folk notions before launching into some measure of melodic metal frenzy), and brief sightings within the likes of "Enemy Simulator" and "Song From the Second Floor," Volvere is almost entirely stripped of the thrash-based guitar riffs and death metal vocals of yore. Speaking of vocals, singer Tuomas Tuominen remains something of a love/hate proposition, appearing to struggle with his hoarse delivery, and seemingly unsure at times over what exactly he wants to do with his voice. This weak link notwithstanding, Volvere is a mature and distinctive work which show Fall of the Leafe establishing an increasingly personal style.

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