Released: 2008, Candlelight USA
In existence since 2001, Finland’s Farmakon have only managed to release two full-length albums. Their latest, although released in Europe in 2007 is just now receiving North American distribution. So what does ROBIN have to offer?
Well, based on the first track, “Time-Tables”, it seems that Farmakon have a deep affection for Opeth – to the point of blatant theft! Seriously, from the winding riffs that oscillate between heavy and mellow, down to the roaring vocals that give way to clean crooning, this could easily be mistaken for a new Opeth album. What’s worse is the fact that vocalist Marko Eskola sounds like he’s doing his best Mikael Akferfeldt impression. Now, this could actually be a coincidence and this is truly how his voice sounds naturally, but I somehow doubt it.
As the album progresses, it becomes painfully clear that Farmakon are content to exist in the shadow of a more well-known band, and, as un-mined a template as Opeth present, such obvious copying drags down the listening experience and just makes me want to reach for my copies of BLACKWATER PARK or STILL LIFE. That is not to say that Farmakon are incompetent – they certainly know their way around their instruments. I would also guess that not many bands could pull off Opeth-styled material and there are a few memorable riffs throughout ROBIN – it’s just that I’ve heard them already.
While I give Farmakon points for trying, they get a big fat zero for originality and overall effort. These guys seriously need to re-think their approach.