Released by: Lion Music
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Progressive Metal
Markku Kuikka – vocals
Sami Saarinen – guitars
Jukka Karinen – keyboards
Eero Pakkanen – bass
Rolf Pilve – drums
1. The Wind
3. Glass Wall
4. Like a Dream
5. Confidence and Trust
8. Flowers Die
9. Sail Away
One thing is certain about the Finnish progressive metal band Status Minor; these guys have solved the equation for delivering some intricate riffing reminiscent of some of the more mainstream bands in the prog metal genre, but the kicker is that they actually incorporate enough layers of diversity into the music to distinguish themselves from the crowd without compromising what they really are.
Founded in early 2002 by the bands guitar player Sami Saarinen who not only was inspired by everybody’s favorites metal bands, he’s also classically trained and a big pianist enthusiast. It shows on the bands second studio album “Outeroboros” which at first I had no freaking clue what the title meant. Come to find out the band’s cover artwork explains a lot, the word itself is Greek for ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The literal meaning is something having to do with the meaning of life, renewal of life. Interesting concept, I learned something I didn’t know. And thankfully there was more to the conception artwork then meets the eye.
The bands’s first studio album got some pretty decent reviews back in 2010 from online publications worldwide landing the band some touring gigs and a chance to spread their live stage presence, now they are back and I was honestly very surprise to listen to their new stuff. I was expecting your typical dreary vibe I usually get from the excessive at times technicality of some progressive metal bands, but I was wrong Status Minor have more to offer to the listener then the obvious.
First and foremost the lead singer Markku Kuikka has a pretty solid range on vocals despite some rough patches here and there, this adds a new dynamic to the band’s sound, that’s not even counting the added special guest vocals of female singer Anna Murphy of Eluveitie who does a phenomenal job as well, this duo tag team adds an infusion of passion and melancholy into the songs. After a riff display from the first two songs off the album, you get into the slower piano lead of “Glass Wall”, a tremendous song with plenty of emotional kick. Another similar tune is “Confidence of Trust” which has the piano taking the front and center, and Kuikka does a great job here on this vocal laden song.
Things pick up with a menacing uptempo display which comes via “Stain” producing a mix of all the elements that make this band very noticeable and noteworthy. The battery assault continues on the track “Smile” as it turns into riff city and more resembling bands like Suspyre or Symphony X. The highlights for me come at the end with the slower progressive rock nuances of “Flowers Die”, borrowing a page or two from other Neo Classical Prog Metal bands with a lesson in tempo shift and mood. The last and final Epic song “Sail Away” is a mastery of progressive metal, the slow build up, the elaborateness of the keys an guitars, the smooth vocals and brooding lyrics all add to this majestic song which ends the album on a melodious uplifting note.
An improvement over their debut with solid production and stronger songwriting, Status Minor should now distinguish themselves form the Power Metal label which some gave the band early on, their debut “Dialog” was a bit too repetitious in that style and never did a great job of laying out their own footprints per say. The dual vocals work well and as mentioned before add a nice touch to certain songs, and the band does well mixing the slower moments with the hard riff laden tunes. The guitars and the piano are both key players on “Ouroboros” and that layer of support brings a different dark atmosphere out of the music creating much needed depth for the band. Nice surprising record I will soon revisit.
Written by Denys