Reviewed: August 2022
Released: 2022, self-released
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Initially a project born in Helsinki, Finland to composer Pekka Virtanen and writer Veera Hänninen during the uncertainty of 2020, Egres is now a fully-fledged band. The six-piece can be described as a cinematic/progressive metal act. Two years later, they have unveiled their debut full-length Introspection, which explores concepts such as the beauty and pain of humanity.
“Endless Individuality” gives the album a whimsical start. Ominously atmospheric, the first minute sets the scene. Without the words Veera Hänninen sings and Juuso Tolonen’s guitar, this piece could serve as a part of a film score. Egres’ style is quite cinematic, with keys, wind and string instruments displaying their gentler side.
Beginning almost instantaneously with a heavy approach, “My Universe” shifts the mood of the album, revealing another side to their sound. Orchestral and symphonic metal passages are played throughout the longest track, eventually combining to create a sublime listening experience. Here, the progressive metal leaning the record has is more apparent than it was previously.
Tristan Lumme and Vilma Peltokangas lead on “A Life Not My Own” with their respective piano and cello performances. Some immerse sounds of nature will surely transport one to the world described by Hänninen. The wordless sections of this middle track are particularly magical, especially when the softer part transforms into another creature.
Nissinen’s drumming provides the backbone to a tension-building introduction for the next song, while Virtanen’s bass-work echoes the sense of threat. “Programmed” is a vocal highlight on the record, with the male backing vocals adding another dimension to Introspection. Tolonen’s riffs during the chorus communicate a sense of drama in the song, adding weight to the lyrics. The bowed instruments and percussion depict a sense of drama in the song, preparing the listener for the lyrics that describe human inner turmoil.
Six-minute finale “Wish To The Stars”. Peltokangas’ string-playing really shines here, at times working beautifully in tandem with the sound of the flute. The outro blends seamlessly into the first track’s intro, which is reason enough listen to Introspection on a loop.
Musically, Introspection is a highly accomplished release. The penultimate track “Programmed” makes the most of having multiple vocalists in the band, utilising the various vocal styles superbly. It would have been interesting to hear a few more songs take the lyrical delivery to this level. All in all, a decent half-hour debut from the Finnish sextet. Definitely check this record out and stay tuned for what Egres do next if you are a symphonic metal fan.