SILENTIUM

Gothic Metal • Finland
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Silentium is a dark gothic metal band whose songs often talk about love, pain, sorrow, and yearning. The band formed in Jämsänkoski, Finland in 1995. The band currently consists of Riina Rinkinen (female vocals), Juha Lehtioksa (guitars), Toni Lahtinen (guitars), Matti Aikio (bass, vocals), Sami Boman (keyboards, vocals), and Jari Ojala (drums).

Silentium's first demos and EPs have been released in tape format, and their albums have only been released in Europe and some Asian countries, although Silentium's last single (Dead Silent) has been uploaded to some Finnish music legal sites to download worldwide.

The story of Silentium goes back to December 1995 into the ashes of a death metal/gothic metal band called Funeral. From the remains of Funeral, keyboardist Sami Boman and original vocalist Matti Aikio created Silentium by adding violin player Jani Laaksonen, guitarists Toni Lahtinen & Juha Lehtioksa and drummer Jari Ojala into the line-up.

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SILENTIUM Discography

SILENTIUM albums / top albums

SILENTIUM Infinita Plango Vulnera album cover 3.92 | 2 ratings
Infinita Plango Vulnera
Gothic Metal 1999
SILENTIUM Altum album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Altum
Gothic Metal 2001
SILENTIUM Sufferion: Hamartia of Prudence album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sufferion: Hamartia of Prudence
Gothic Metal 2003
SILENTIUM Seducia album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Seducia
Gothic Metal 2006
SILENTIUM Amortean album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Amortean
Gothic Metal 2008
SILENTIUM Motiva album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Motiva
Gothic Metal 2020

SILENTIUM EPs & splits

SILENTIUM SI. VM E.T A. V. VM album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
SI. VM E.T A. V. VM
Gothic Metal 2001

SILENTIUM live albums

SILENTIUM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SILENTIUM Illacrimõ album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Illacrimõ
Gothic Metal 1996
SILENTIUM Caméne Misera album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Caméne Misera
Gothic Metal 1998

SILENTIUM re-issues & compilations

SILENTIUM singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Frostnight
Gothic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dead Silent
Gothic Metal 2007

SILENTIUM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SILENTIUM Reviews

SILENTIUM SI. VM E.T A. V. VM

EP · 2001 · Gothic Metal
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lukretion
After releasing their second full-length album Altum, Silentium hit again the shelves with this EP, SI.VM E.T A.V.VM (Silentium Est Aurum, “silence is golden” in Latin). It contains four tracks, for just a little over 20 minutes of music. All tracks are cut out of the same recording sessions at Studio Watercastle where Altum was recorded. Two of the tracks are previously unreleased, while the other two are re-arranged and re-recorded versions of songs that had first appeared on the band’s first two demo tapes (“Grieving Beauty” appeared on the 1996 demo Illacrimõ and “Lament” on the 1998 demo Caméne Misera).

Stylistically, the EP sits halfway between the classically influenced doom/gothic metal of Silentium’s 1999 debut LP (Infinita Plango Vulnera) and the leaner symphonic gothic metal of their sophomore record, Altum. The two previously unreleased tracks lean more towards the sonic style of Altum. “Apart” is a nice, catchy gothic piece that plays on the alternation between male croon, female soprano vocals and grim but melodic blackened growls. Silentium have always impressed me for their lush and classy symphonic arrangements and “Apart” offers another great example of the band’s great ear for writing classically influenced metal music. The orchestral breakdown half through the song, where organ and violin are left alone to play against each other, is both surprising and exhilarating, and adds a new, exciting dimension to an otherwise fairly ordinary song. The other new song “I Bleed for…” is less impressive. It’s another blackened gothic piece that is however somewhat lacking in the vocal department, with singer Matti Aikio battling unsuccessfully against the bland and weak melodies he is given to sing. The arrangements are also not quite as smooth as in other tracks, the song’s different sections not flowing very well into one another.

The two re-recorded songs are instead more similar in style to the material we find on the band’s debut LP, Infinita Plango Vulnera. These are the tracks that I like the most. The level of sophistication in the instrumental arrangements is breath-taking. Take the beginning of “Grieving Beauty”: a sombre clean guitar arpeggio starts the song, and is quickly accompanied by a delicate piano arpeggio and Tiina Lehvonen’s wordless soprano singing. The rest of the band joins soon afterwards, the violin and the lead guitar introducing beautiful counterpoint melodies that will form the main classical theme of the song. It’s the best instrumental passage of the whole album and shows the great songwriting and arranging ability of this Finnish ensemble. It’s just a pity that, vocally, the song is a bit weak, with Matti Aikio struggling again to find a strong melody to sing. Things get definitely better on “Lament”, probably the best track on the EP. The instrumental beginning of the song is again stunning, the violin and the lead guitar perfectly laid over a beautiful melancholic arpeggio. Tiina Lehvonen takes the lead on this song, with a good, catchy melody both in the verse and the chorus. Matti Aikio contributes blackened growls that play nicely against Tina’s ethereal soprano-like vocals, in perfect beauty-and-the-beast style. The second half of the song introduces multiple instrumental breaks, adding complexity and substance to an already magnificent song.

All in all, this is a very pleasant EP, nicely bridging Silentium’s early classical/baroque doom sound with the slightly more commercial symphonic gothic style the band pursued in the rest of their discography. As I am a big fan of the band’s debut album Infinita Plango Vulnera, I am quite fond of this EP that, in at least half of its compositions, harks back to the heavily classically influenced doom of the debut LP. I may even prefer this to Altum, which I find perhaps a tad too convoluted and difficult to get into. Either way, whether you are a fan of Silentium’s early or late sound, this little record will not disappoint.

[Also published on metal-archives.com]

SILENTIUM Infinita Plango Vulnera

Album · 1999 · Gothic Metal
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lukretion
This debut album of Finnish ensemble Silentium is a thing of beauty. The band emerged in the symphonic doom/gothic arena in the second half of the 1990s and, after a couple of self-released demos, signed a record deal with Spikefarm, the then new-born subsidiary of Finnish label Spinefarm. At the time they recorded this album, Silentium were comprised of seven musicians, two guitarists, two singers (female and male, the latter also playing bass), a drummer, a keyboard player, and a violinist. Released in 1999, Infinita Plango Vulnera is the band’s debut full-length album and is also the first record to ever be released on Spikefarm.

Silentium merge together a number of influences on this album. There is a strong doom component, inspired no doubt by the British scene, My Dying Bride in particular. However, the compositions are leaner and less oppressive than the standard doom canon, in large part due to the strong baroque/classical influences that are manifest most obviously in the keyboards and violin arrangements. Moreover, the music also has noticeable blackened gothic undertones, accentuated by the use of operatic female vocals. These different influences are dosed very tastefully throughout the ten songs of the album, resulting in a fresh and original sound that sets the band apart from both the doom and the gothic scenes. If I were to draw a comparison with other bands from those years, I’d probably say German band EverEve, who were also playing a similar combination of doom, gothic and black metal, although the Finns display a stronger classical component in their music.

The album traces a bleak but captivating musical journey. The songwriting is consistently strong, striking a perfect balance between complexity and immediacy. Keyboard player Sami Boman was the main songwriter at the time and he must have had some classical music training because the baroque/classical music influences are all over the place in the band’s sophisticated arrangements. This is apparent from the frequent use of counterpoint melodies (simultaneously played by the violin, keyboards and guitars), the omnipresence of classical violin and piano lines, and the use of operatic vocals by female singer Tiina Lehvonen. Songs like “Whatever the Pain” and “With Blood Adorned” are glorious examples of the marked classical influences in Silentium’s arrangements. The latter almost feels like a blackened gothic metal take on chamber music, which may be disorienting at first, but eventually becomes nothing short of exhilarating.

Elsewhere, the classical influences are more subdued and the doom component comes more to the fore. “Redemption”, “Requiem” and “At the Dawn I Wept” are wonderful doom gems that seem taken straight out of My Dying Bride’s playbook, but further coloured with hints of blackened gothic metal. “Forever Sleep” is a more straightforward goth uptempo, while folk melodies surface on “Maiden of the Forest” and “With Blood Adorned”. Meanwhile, “Solicitude” is a languid semi-instrumental affair that opens and closes the album with an almost lounge jazz feel. Such a variety in the style of its compositions is without doubt one the main strengths of the album. It is impossible to get bored or lose focus while listening to this album as things keep changing from song to song and the music constantly takes a fresh turn with each new track.

Another strength of the album is that the musicianship is very tight. Silentium are a skillful ensemble, all band members are proficient in their instrument and capable to put their skills to the service of the song. Keyboardist Sami Boman and violinist Jani Laaksonen are omnipresent and form the backbone of the album compositions. It is a pleasure to listen to their classy arrangements and to the stylish interplay between violin and keys. The two guitarists Juha Lehtioksa Toni Lahtinen also impress with tight rhythmical patterns and pleasant leads. Meanwhile, drummer Janne Ojala and bassist Matti Aikio provide solid grooves that propel the songs forward with ease. The vocals are also good. The male singer, Matti Aikio, uses a range of different styles, from classic doom vocals (he reminds me of a cross between My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe and Vincent Cavanagh in those early, doomy Anathema albums) to blackened rasps. Regardless of the style, he puts in a convincing performance. The female singer, Tiina Lehvonen, is used more sparingly, almost in a backing role. Her soprano-like vocals, albeit not exceptional, fit well the music and are used with taste.

The strong musicianship is exalted by the excellent sound production, courtesy of the experienced duo of Mikko Karmila (mixing) and Mika Jussila (mastering). The quality of the production compares favourably with albums produced today, more than twenty years after this album’s release. The separation between instruments is perfect and everything sounds clean and smooth. Yet, the sound retains enough grit and power to trigger a satisfying dose of headbanging when needed (“Requiem”).

Infinita Plango Vulnera is a great album that any fan of doom/gothic metal should make sure not to miss out on. The doom/gothic scene became quickly crowded in the 1990s/2000s, but with this album Silentium managed to stand out from the rest of the pack, by incorporating elegant classical influences into a musical tapestry made of mid-tempos, cavernous vocals and mournful melodies. The end result is a thing of beauty that provides a thrilling and entertaining musical journey every time I put the disc on. Highly recommended!

[Also published on metal-archives.com]

SILENTIUM Altum

Album · 2001 · Gothic Metal
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lukretion
Silentium are a 7-piece band from Finland that plays a combination of gothic/romantic metal in the tradition of bands like Theatre of Tragedy, Tristania and The Sins of Thy Beloved. There are many elements in their music that recall these bands: the juxtaposition between dark male vocals and ethereal female vocals (the famous beauty-and-the-beast approach), the use of the violin and the piano as main instruments to carry the melody, the depressing lyrics about love and death. However, rather than being simple clones of these more famous bands, Silentium manage to carve a path of their own. The original element that Silentium bring to the table are a strong penchant for baroque/classical music as well as the influence of English doom bands like Paradise Lost, (early) Anathema, and especially My Dying Bride. The outcome is a mix between classical music, gothic, and doom that gives a new angle to the (by 2001, quite trite) beauty-and-the-beast approach.

On Altum, the classical and doom influences are perhaps a tad toned down compared to the band’s previous album, Infinita Plango Vulnera. But they are nevertheless still apparent throughout the nine songs of the record. The most obvious doom influences are in the male singer Matti Aikio's clean vocal style that reminds quite closely My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe's. This is also a clear point of departure relative to other gothic/romantic metal bands, which typically rely on death/black male vocals as a contrast to the female clean vocals. There are a few moments where death/black vocals appear on this album too, but the male vocals are predominantly clean. The female vocals are also used much more sparingly as compared to other gothic/romantic bands. Both singers have good voices, which is a bonus especially in comparison to other similar acts (Theatre of Tragedy, for instance, have a quite poor male vocalist). The black/death vocals, however, are not always excellent (listen, for instance, to the asthmatic rasps on The Lusticon).

Musically, the violin and the keyboards/piano are the main instruments around which the songs are composed and arranged. The violin, in particular, plays quite a distinct role relative to what we can find on The Sins of Thy Beloved's albums. There is less free-form soloing. Instead, the violin is used to construct the leads that form the backbone of the songs (like a guitar's riff or lead). The other instruments take a bit more of a backseat role, with the guitars often either doubling the violin or just providing background distortion.

The music is quite doomy, in the way the riffs and melodies evolve slowly and repeat over long sections of the songs. The songs normally last more than 5 minutes and, compared to the band’s previous album, there is perhaps an added layer of complexity here, with songs that are comprised of multiple parts, with lots of mood and tempo changes. This makes the album somewhat more difficult to get into. The arrangements are very meticulous and classy. Listen for example to the beginning of “Revangelis”, with the sequenced ingress of piano, guitar, violin and drums. Really beautiful and tasteful. The songwriting quality, however, is not always top-notch. The longest songs feel a bit unfocused, with the different parts not flowing perfectly into one another. Also, there is often a bit too much repetition and the songs feel a bit overstretched and directionless. This makes the music a bit difficult to digest, especially if one is listening attentively in which case boredom can at times prevail.

But in general the songs flow pleasantly, with enough melodic hooks to make them memorable and distinguishable one from another. This is especially the case in tracks like “Revangelis” (the best song here), “Painless” (which swerves in avant-garde territories in its second-half, brining to mind Arcturus), “The Sinful”, and the epic “The Propheter of the Unenthroned”. These four songs can rely on good melodies and a more concise form that make them stand out from the rest. The other songs are not bad, but suffer from the problems I was mentioning earlier (unfocused, directionless songwriting and excessive repetition).

Overall, Altum is a good album, although I prefer Silentium’s debut album Infinita Plango Vulnera to it. The band has made a number of small changes to their sound with this record. The gothic component is more dominant, pushing the classical/baroque and doom influences more in the background, and positioning the band more firmly in the then-trending symphonic gothic scene. At the same time, the complexity of the compositions has also increased, with the songs stretching through multiple parts, with frequent tempo changes. This makes the album both more ordinary and more convoluted than its predecessor, which is not necessarily a great combination. Nevertheless, the quality of the music is still high, confirming the great songwriting and arranging skills of this criminally underrated Finnish ensemble.

[Also published on metal-archives.com]

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