Released: 2008, Metal Heaven/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
The Finnish act Ancara went through many line-ups before they solidified it in 2003 and focused on the release of their debut album THE DAWN in 2006. They released the album on their own label and it went straight into the Finnish charts, as did their EP THE WORLD which entered the top-ten chart and stayed there for 4 weeks.
With a new label the band is ready to unleash their second album entitled BEYOND THE DARK which stands solidly in the melodic metal soil. But the band’s music isn’t cheerful and happy all of the time; there are hints of the Finnish sadness and bits of Goth in the music. Despite nobody being listed on keyboard there are a myriad keyboard parts in the songs which have been incorporated perfectly to fill out the music and not dominate it.
All of the members are excellent musicians and extremely talented; the brothers Mika and Timo Rajala provide a rock-solid foundation with their bass and drums. Singer Sammy Salminen’s voice is perfect for expressing the emotions the songs have. He is the perfect singer for Ancara and I hope that the line-up remains because they can’t afford to lose any of the members.
My promo copy features 8 songs plus two bonus tracks called “The World” and the live song “Burn in Hell.” I want to hear more of Ancara’s well-played, solid melodic metal. “Circles”, “Deny”, “Scarred” and “The World” are faster and more technical songs with amazing guitar riffs and edgy refrains. The songs feature really catchy choruses that stay in your head whether or not you want it to. “Snow Flower”, “Cranium Tension”, “When Everyone Else Is Gone” and “In Silence” are slower but just as heavy with powerful Gothic influences. The classic Finnish sadness is excellently featured; you can almost tell that the band is from Finland just by listening to the music. The only complaint I have is that the album is too short, which is something that rarely happens.
A live version of “Burn in Hell” closes out the album and just like the rest of the songs this one is a heavy guitar-based melodic metal song equally as brilliant as the rest of the material on BEYOND THE DARK. You can’t hear any audience noise in the background, but Salminen speaks Finnish on stage so the song has to be taken from a show in Finland. A video was shot for the song “Deny” and for their upcoming single “Just for Me”.
The only negative thing I have to say about the album is the length; I want to hear more from Ancara now! It’s great to hear new and fresh music from Finland which reminds us that there are more music styles in Finland besides Nightwish, battle metal and gothic acts. Ancara represents the future of Finnish music.