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Warmen - First Of Five Elements

Label: self-financed
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7/ 10

The Finnish band that offers Children Of Bodom's fleet fingered keyboardist Janne Wirman solace from his day job undertook a pledge campaign to finance their fifth album, resulting in ten new originals, as well as a pair of well-known covers: album ender, Alice Cooper's ‘Man Behind The Mask’ and goofy ‘Like A Virgin’ (Madonna, yes THAT Madonna!).


Like past efforts, vocal duties are split amongst Pasi Rantanen, female guest Joanna Geagea and COB head honcho Alexi Laiho (the Cooper cover and ‘Suck My Attitude’). There's also two instrumentals, including the title track. Like the Reaper's scythe, a wide swath of musical styles is cut. ‘The Race’ opens like a forgotten Ozzy track from the 80s, before striking out on its own synth galloping territory. ‘Ruler Of Your World’ recalls countrymen Sonata Arctica. The sci-fi electronica of ‘When Worlds Collide’ quickly adopts a progressive take, while the Laiho original veers close to death metal (especially his lyrics) and Wirman is virtually indecipherable. A good portion of the five tunes with former Thunderstone frontman Rantanen are uptempo (but not frenetic) commercial rock/melodic metal anthems. Leave the ivory tickling stuff to the voiceless contributions, an opening ‘Intromental’ and the aforementioned titular cut. ‘Devil In Disguise’ is an apt title, since the bluesy hard rock could have come off some 70s British outfits, or a latter day Masterplan / Jorn platter. ‘Anger’, appearing after ‘Like A Virgin’, gets things back on track, a heavy, guitar oriented song. ‘Human Race’ is the final original, a slower, plodding ballad composition. The Jorn comparison resonates once more.

If they were shopping demos, prior to going it alone (financially), can see why a label might be skeptical. Janne can probably play COB blindfolded, so Warmen gives him the opportunity to relax and stretch his wings, even if everyone doesn't appreciate the lackadaisical feel.

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