If you’re in the mood for atmospheric and interstellar metal with tons of melodies, electronic synths and stuff that you might hear in a JRPG, then this intriguing record from Finnish space metallers Tulikaste is going to be right up your alley. Some might even go as far as to say it sounds like Devin Townsend at his most cosmic, just without the advent of vocals. Though for some odd reason, I keep wondering why all space and futuristic metal music has to have djent riffs now. It’s true that I didn’t notice them at first, but that’s because this album didn’t start to become awesome until about two songs in, which left me feeling rather bored with opener “Percolator 4:56” which was almost nothing but djent riffs and little else. It wasn’t until things started to differentiate with “Alpha Blade 7:21” that I started to grab onto the recording. I then started to notice the guitars picking up melody and showing off some rather spectacular sections that seem like they would feel at home in a video game of some sort. “Jagat 4:06” only continues this feeling as shredder Hannu Willman really brings it home. With “Jagat” I was reminded of the kind of synth and shred that you might hear in JRPG’s these days (and hell, even in the days of old although filtered through MIDI) and it felt like something that you’d especially hear in a boss battle. Give it a listen and tell me what you think about that description. Next we had the heavily Devin Townsend influenced “Firedew 8:04” which does observe some astounding lead melodies and pop off with an almost dancey atmosphere in itself. A lot of these tracks remind me of Star Ocean (despite the tragedy of the third game) a little, or perhaps even sections of Xenosaga (which did actually use guitar influence in some boss themes, though not quite this grand) which I found to have some rather impressive music. But Tulikaste definitely differentiates from that as it paves an extravagantly melodic route with what I’m assuming is a debut. Next we have “Cetus 2:41” which starts out with a little bit of atmosphere and goes into complete and utter shred. Well, maybe it’s more like a dazzling display of fireworks, but it sits in the same category. “Voidborn 8:49” contains a little bit of sitar and seems to be a bit of a softer number, but the lead melodies that comprise it seem to be more than enough to keep it flowing and catchy. This whole thing is the brainchild of Vesa Partti, who has been seriously studying up on his melodies. Imagine every great lead from nearly every rock-influenced video game soundtrack ever and you’ve got this record in the bag. “Star Rodeo 4:18” sounds like an all-out battle in space, which even seems to include laser blasts in addition to surreal solo efforts that truly sound out of this stratosphere. (What? You thought I was going to use a tired old line like “out of this world?) The next track here is “All Seeing Delirium 14:11” which seems to include almost everything you’ve already heard on the record and then some. It’s the kind of track that’s tough to describe, since it’s a literal tour-de-force and leaves you feeling breathless. But don’t worry, because there are some light atmospheric breaks here and there, allowing you time to get your bearings again for the next hyper dimensional pummeling. “Menticide 6:09” ends the whole thing, though in a sort of dark and djent-influenced manner that I found a bit peculiar. It feels like you’ve happened upon a mad scientist’s laboratory while traveling through space. That being said, I don’t think it really fits as a closer for the album either. “All Seeing Delirium 14:11” was just fine. At the end of the day, I was quite impressed and would definitely have to say that the other seven songs definitely make up for the not quite as potent album opener and closing note. Even so, I feel that there’s an impressive effort here and I’d like to see it continue. Being a fan of game music and guitar solos, I definitely dug this one and I think you’ll like it as well. If you’re into that sort of thing, however. Nevertheless, go check it out!
(9 Tracks, 60:00)