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Tainted Dreams
September 2007
Released: 2007, Violent Journey Records
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

A Finnish metal band that obeys the name Exsecratus, was formed in spring 2004 by Olli Mattila, who both plays guitar and growls in the band, but is also the main song writer for the band. As far as the main musical influences and/or inspirations for Exsecratus are concerned, the band claims to be influenced/inspirated by such bands as C.o.B., Norther, Nightwish, Ensiferum, Wintersun and Dimmu Borgir. According to all these aforelisted bands, I assume some of you may now be curious to know how Exsecratus´s debut album, titled TAINTED DREAMS, sounds like? Well, worry not as they sound nothing like Dimmu - nor do they sound directly like any of those other bands they have subscribed to as their main influences. However, what links Exsecratus to Nightwish´s direction, is undoubtedly the band´s blonde female vocalist Leeni-Maria Hovila whose operatic vocal parts deceptively remind of Tarja Turunen quite strongly here and there. She´s pretty talented as a vocalist - no doubt about that, but I still don´t believe Exsecratus have any intention to use her voice as their main sceptre to get the word out about the band as the next big thing coming from Finland since Nightwish. If the music in its entirety doesn´t do that, then one vocalist cannot save the band from sinking into an eternal oblivion either.

Unfortunately musically the band sounds a bit like they are still looking for themselves a bit which direction they truly want to develop their music toward to. I mean, there´s bits from Death Metal here, bits from Power Metal there, bits from Gothic Rock/Metal - and even bits from Black Metal, etc. - all mixed up together on TAINTED DREAMS - and sure, a contrast that is offered through their music, should partly work out as a welcomed breath of fresh air as a part of successfully executed wholeness. But the problem is, the contrast that has been built up around their songs, is a bit too much this time. The biggest headache comes in - surprisingly, in a form of Leeni-Maria´s operatic vocals that are way too creamy and sweet cake to be swallowed by this picky mouth in question. I honestly think Exsecratus´ song arrangements simply don´t support her vocal parts well enough. Most of the time her vocals work out as an irrational element out of the main context of the album, which is kind of a pity. With Olli´s strong death grunts only, the band would do much better as the music already supports Exsecratus´s somewhat dominating heavy approach within the song structures. And now when I have started crying about certain things, the band should seriously start avoiding aping some other bands around them. Exsecratus´ song, "Pain Inside", has a very familiar synth part that is nearly 90% copy from Nightwish´s "Sacrament of Wilderness". A plain coincidence or not, but it´s not a cool thing by any means, I´m afraid.

Exsecratus have lots of capacity inside the band to become a potentially noticed metal act under a vast Finnish starry sky, and probably TAINTED DREAMS came out way too soon for them as a bit of a rushed effort before they were even completely ready for it. Hopefully they´ll be better prepared before they record their next album. ´til then, I´m getting prepared for all the hate mail I may get by being this truthful asshole who just wanted to be honest with a number of certain corpse-cold things.
Track Listing

01. Path to the Bliss
02. Suicide
03. In Death's Arms
04. Under the Winter Moon
05. Pain Inside
06. Final Assault - The Beginning
07. Fallen
08. Last Fall
09. Once
10. My Last Fight


Olli Mattila - Vocals and guitar
Leeni-Maria Hovila - Female vocals
Tony Hentilä - Guitar and backing vocals
Timo Kauhajärvi - Bass
Jussi Raatikainen - Drums
Emmi Silvennoinen - Synth

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» Tainted Dreams
by Luxi Lahtinen

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