Finland has recently been praised by the president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama himself, for its heavy metal culture, where he says: “I do wanna point out that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance. I don’t know if there’s any correlation there.”
This remark has since gone viral and has served as a reminder of the sheer number and quality of metal bands that derive from this nordic country.
The Hypothesis have expanded the country’s fine selection with their entirely melodic death metal sound, joining the likes of Insomnium, Children of Bodom, Kalmah and Mors Principium Est to name a few. Although forming in 2009, only in 2016, after a few line up changes, do we see them emerge from a dark forest of Viitasaari where they recorded their debut full-length album.
Although it is immediately clear that the band take a large amount of influence from these aforementioned bands, there is just enough originality in their compositions to squeeze in amongst these names without sounding like a clone of any one of them. For example, the beginning of ‘Scarface‘ reminds me greatly of mid-to-late era Children of Bodom. However, the incredible guitars by Juuso Turkki and ex-Naildown/ex-Imperanon guitarist Asko Sartanen, in tracks such as ‘End of Your Days‘ and ‘Eye For an Eye‘ (music video below), certainly stand out and adds to their own sound. This element, along with the heavy use of synths (despite not having cited a keyboard player as a member of the band) define the band’s style, which is a great mix of a more modern melodic death metal sound, with an accompanying feeling and atmosphere similar to the classic melodeath giants, such as Edge of Sanity or Dark Tranquillity.
Origin is fairly varied overall, and as I listened to the melodious guitars and synths, with the growling vocals of singer Antti Sepällä, and featuring the drumming of current Paradise Lost drummer Waltteri Väyrynen, I became a little more critical. Whilst much of the songwriting is fantastic and features highly skilled musicianship, there are some sections that are largely forgettable during the first half of the album. Some of the heavier riffs or ‘breakdowns’ in tracks such as ‘Leak‘ might come across well at a live show, but on record, I feel they fall slightly flat and are lacking substance. However, these sections do keep the pace of the release nice and varied.
The album really picks up for me from ‘Atonement‘ until the end of the record. This song features some unique clean vocals from the beginning of the track along with a great sounding synth carrying the song along. Until this point, I was of the opinion that Antti’s vocals were of little significance to the band’s sound, but the inclusion of these cleans changed that and I suddenly became more aware of both kinds of vocals and just how powerful they can be at times.
Clean vocals return on the groove-laden ‘Weak Story‘ alongside more heavy synths, dual guitars and underlying bass from Markku “Neissu” Ruuskanen which is followed by something I am quite fond of: an instrumental melodeath track to end the album with called ‘Second Chance‘. These last few songs sealed the deal for me and it was at this point that I had come to the decision that this is a band for any melodic death metal enthusiast to watch out for. To include an instrumental track on your debut album is quite a bold move as they can be quite divisive amongst listeners, but for me, this song perfectly concluded a well put-together record. And, just like the title of the instrumental, I decided to give the band a second chance and listen through again, and upon this second listen, more of the earlier tracks on the album made sense and the whole thing came together.
The Hypothesis show huge potential in their field and I look forward to observing and following their rise within the Finnish and melodic death metal scenes in the years to come.