Thursday, December 17, 2015

Standing Ovation - Gravity Beats Nuclear (2015)

The Finnish band Standing Ovation is a interesting bunch of guys, to say the least. Formed in 2006, the band has created a unique mix of progressive metal and, according to themselves, a flurry of addictive details, or as I would call it, fun and insane quirkiness. Judging from the cover, the band seems pretty serious, but it is not until you see their band photos that you realize that they might have a screw or two loose, in a good kind of way. These goofballs have now released their sophomore album, entitled "Gravity Beats Nuclear".

I first got my eyes of the band when they released the music video for the song "Hellbillies", a heavy and wacky song about cannibalism. Yes, this is a song about some drunk chef from Texas that loves to cook human flesh and eat it, it is just as heavy and insane as it sounds. It is without a doubt the most fun song in the entire record, and the instrumentation is impressive as well, especially in the keyboard and guitar solos. As for the music video itself, it is probably my favourite one that was released this year, and it is probably mostly thanks to the singer Jouni Partanen and his pitch black teeth. Check it out for yourself.

The band does mix tons of different styles in their music, without sounding too shattered in their own personality. Most of the music is really melodic and progressive, like the 18 minute mastodon "Lifeline", but it does have its fair share of heavy stuff in it, making the album cover a wide spectrum of the musical landscape. An impressive feat in itself.

The album has several great tracks in it, but none of them really sticks to you as "Hellbillies" does, which is kind of a shame, not because "Hellbillies" is a bad song, but because every other song deserves some more credit. "Permafrost" and "Killer, Iron" has some of the sweetest choruses I have heard all year, "Lifeline" is a fantastic journey from start to finish, and "Run Little Mouse Run" that has a fun groove that is reminiscent of Devin Townsend. Just take your time, and let the songs sink in, then you will understand that his album is more than meets the ear.

I do have some criticism before we round out this review. The ending of the album is a little weak, and while the overall song quality is good, I still feel like the band has some way to go before they can reach the next level. With that said, I still enjoyed the album a lot, and if the band happens to watch this review, just keep doing what you are doing, and you will be fine. You got something cool going on, and I do not want you to hold anything back.

The band certainly aims for the stars in "Gravity Beats Nuclear", and they do succeed to some degree. While the whole picture could have been a little sharper, the experience in itself is interesting enough to be a part of. With a mix of humour, technicality, and finesse, Standing Ovation presents us with a album that is excellent in many ways. Seeing that this is only their second album, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the future.

Songs worthy of recognition: Hellbillies, "Killer, Iron", Lifeline

Rating: 7,5/10 Permafrosts

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