- song writing
Finnish melodic death/ power metal band Whispered only last week released their second album titled “Shogunate Macabre”. The album is a 45-minute long saga of sorts, replete with 8 tracks in total, and to put it in the simplest of words, is a total blast from start to finish. The band, which first performed under the stage moniker Zealot has been playing since 2001, and is composed of Jouni Valjakka on guitars and vocals, Pyrypekka “Peppe” Ruponen on guitars and backing vocals, Mikko Mattila on bass and backing vocals and Jussi Kallava on drums.
The first track on the album Jikininki sets the cogs in motion for the madness of the album in its entirety. Such raspy growls, intensely heavy guitar riffs and the unending bashing of the drums, all knit together with a compelling bass line make for a very quick-paced death metal song. And then beyond the two-minute mark, it’s all pandemonium as power metal elements like squeaky clean guitar solos and well-paced drums get introduced. That melodic feel of the death metal music just goes into overdrive by the end of the song. The second song, Hold The Sword, in contrast starts with power metal at its classic best. Until the Japanese guitar, the Shamisen is introduced- then it’s just a slick stab right into the world of Japanese warriors. As the track progresses, it is close to impossible to not form a very definite Samurai back story in your mind. Intensity again heightens by the middle of this track and, then the Japanese shouts (possibly by an army general) just push the intensity of the song trough the roof. Catch the subtle off time signatures, and you know these guys are playing some very fantastic music.
The third track Fallen Amaterasu again delves into the depth of death metal, with rich orchestral backing vocals. Then there is the little part where the bass guitar just punches much more than any other instrument, and as the track continues, the entire musicality hooks onto the bass line. Add to that a bridge that is extremely Dimmu Borgir-esque, and you know these guys are going for the absolute kill with this album. Track four, Kappa begins with a very “midnight coup d’état” feel, and transcends into different levels of a pseudo-Japanese imageries. Enter shot saxophone solo, followed by blast beats and guttural vocals, it’s like all of the aggression for a pent up revolution is breaking loose. Followed by this is One Man’s Burden, which is more structurally decipherable than any of the earlier songs. The constant inclusion of choral singing appropriates a very “marching song” feel to the track.
Lady Of The Wind begins with Japanese folk music, and then suddenly pummels you with an eccentric mix of power metal and elements of progressive time signatures. This song has perhaps the best guitar solo on the entire album. The shamisen makes a super entry in this song again, and its incorporation with brilliant metal is what makes the marriage between traditional and modern music out of the world. Like its title, Unrestrained is a constant mix of power and death metal causing aural flogging. The final track Upon My Honor is a good 10-minute long track, but once its intro is done with, it’s just aggression in its many myriad forms. This is the one long-haul track where the entire album comes into perspective, on multiple levels, and you just know you have been treated to some of the most brilliant music.
This album is that rare times when everything is epic, right from music composition, to lyrical themes, to that very sharp, very sharp sense of musical direction. Even the production value for the album is extremely high, making it that kind of album that you would almost certainly keep on loop for a long, long time.