Return To Void – Infinite Silence

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Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2020, Inverse Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jack Merry

Finnish progressive hard rock/metal band Return To Void unleashed their third studio album Infinite Silence on December 18th, 2020 via Inverse Records. After 2017’s self-titled debut album and its follow up Memory Shift: The Day After in 2018, the group has absolutely found their feet with the new record.

The band drew inspiration from the surrounding, sometimes completely incomprehensible world. Infinite Silence deals lyrically with inner growth and turmoil, the crazy world around us, and its impact on everything. Despite the upheaval and chaos 2020 brought with it, Return To Void still managed to be productive and release a stellar third album against all odds.

‘Aliveness’ kicks things off with a bang as it merges the prog edge of Dream Theater with the metal sensibilities of Iron Maiden, and vocally it seems to be a mix of each band’s frontman – like the twisted vocal lovechild of James LaBrie and Bruce Dickinson. I did a little bit of digging, and I found out Return To Void actually began life as an acoustic act that performed Bruce Dickinson solo material under the moniker Dick & Sons and it all clicked into place. This is no bad thing, and this style works excellently for the music on offer here. Intricate melodies intertwine with muscular riffs and scorching solos to create a monumental opening track. Lyrically, the song tackles a rebirth of sorts; a phoenix rising from the ashes, letting go of what was and looking to what will be, as frontman Markku Pihlaja sings:

Let the demons free, so the darkness can be dispelled…
Night is true and the morning breaks again
Dawn of great new era, you can draw your new course
Night is true and the morning breaks again

Return To Void seem to wear their influences on their sleeves, whilst forging their own style. Their musical influences vary from 70´s prog to modern metal, but the purpose is to set out and craft their own unique and recognisable sound. Their music has been described by many as melodic metal with prog elements as well. The band themselves call it merely “rock and roll.” ‘Stone Heart’ brings to mind Deep Purple through some 70’s inspired keyboard and organ work, complete with some lead work that can be traced back to Ritchie Blackmore, and ‘Resistance’ has a lead lick reminiscent of Purple’s track ‘Mistreated,’ from the Hughes/Coverdale era.

‘Freed From Illusion’ is a prog-rock journey through dreams with a stratospheric chorus destined to be a live staple during performances, and it’s easily my favourite song on the entire album. It takes all of the band’s influences and shoves them in a blender to create something that is pure Return To Void. A razor-sharp guitar riff punctuates the song atop a steady yet technically proficient rhythm section and it culminates in a gorgeous and explosive lead guitar solo that would put a smile on John Petrucci’s face.

Infinite Silence is an epic masterwork with only a couple of missteps along the way (‘Equal Freaks’ is one of the heavier tracks here but it doesn’t quite work for me, and I found the majority of ‘Full Circle’ a little dull) that manages to give the band their own identity whilst having one foot placed in days gone by. Fans of Dream TheaterOpethIron Maiden , and Deep Purple will find so much to love here that the negatives I have become no more than nitpicks. Return To Void has something pretty special here, and they’ll be ones to watch in future.


Video:


Tracklisting:

01. Aliveness
02. Stone Heart
03. Resistance
04. Freed From Illusion
05. Equal Freaks
06. Full Circle
07. Foresters
08. Mosaic Of Light and Shadow
09. Damaged
10. Departed and Arrived

Band Line-up:

Pasi Hakuli – Bass
Kalle Kukkonen – Drums
Saku Hakuli – Guitars
Antti Huopainen – Keyboards
Markku Pihlaja – Vocals

RETURN TO VOID Online:

www.returntovoid.com
www.facebook.com/returntovoid
www.instagram.com/returntovoid
returntovoid.bandcamp.com

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