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External - 2018 - "The Blurry Horizon"

(36:56; External)


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External is an eclectic metal act based in Parkano/Tampere, Finland. Although their roots were in traditional thrash metal, External have since abandoned the idea of genre boundaries and are acting in a truly progressive manner as they mix and blend different styles showing no regard whatsoever for the need for conforming to what people may expect from them. Previously External have released a few notably thrash-influenced demos and singles, but this their debut album is an incredibly diverse musical journey with a relatively wide scale of influences. While having a large gap between the musical extremities and different moods, the album still maintains a certain level of coherency by using repeated motifs throughout. Partially exploring somewhat complex and progressive spheres, the song material still doesn't sacrifice accessibility, making it enjoyable for many kinds of listeners. Lyrically the album discusses human nature in the modern digital age - our relationship with phenomena such as social media and artificial intelligence. Despite the obvious benefits of these things, when digging deeper to the subject, some definite ugly sides are revealed. Whereas technology is moving fast forward, that might not be the case for humanity as a species. There is a real feeling of restraint within the album that the guys are able to blast out is never in doubt, and there are times when they can no longer resist the urge, but for the most part this is an incredibly mature album that in no way feels like a self-released debut. Aleksi Haukkaluoma has a powerful and emotional voice, but he also understands the limits of his range and the use of Anna Lampela as an additional singer adds additional complexity and lightness. The orchestration follows the guitars, adding another sense of depth and majesty, and solos are often surprisingly slow, again showing great restraint as they channel Gilmour more than Mustaine. There are obvious nods towards Opeth in much of what they are achieving here, but the end result is a really strong debut, which will be of interest to both metalheads and progheads as they merge the genres.

Kev Rowland: October 2018


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