CONVULSE — Reflections (review)

CONVULSE — Reflections album cover Album · 1994 · Death 'n' Roll Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
UMUR
"Reflections" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Convulse. The album was released through Relapse Records in June 1994, almost 3 years after the release of the band´s debut full-length studio album "World Without God (1991)". "Reflections" was already recorded at Sunlight Studios in late 1992/early 1993, but a number of lineup changes took place between the two albums and also a label change, which probably resulted in the long time between the debut album and the sophomore release (in those days 3 years between albums, were a pretty long time). Guitarist Jani Kuhanen died in 1992 and was replaced by Toni Honkala, drummer Janne Miikkulainen has been replaced by Juppo Paavola, and Aki Yli-Salomäki has been added to the lineup as lead vocalist. So guitarist/vocalist Rami Jämsä and bassist Juha Telenius are the only remaining members of the lineup who recorded "World Without God (1991)".

Maybe it was the change in personel or maybe it was just the musical current at the time, which caused a drastic stylistic change, but the sound on "Reflections" is vastly different from the old school death metal sound of "World Without God (1991)". The listener is treated to a death´n´roll sound which isn´t far removed from what contemporary artists like Entombed, Gorefest, and Furbowl, were releasing at the time (just even less death metal oriented). I´m sure the stylistic development must have come as quite a shock to the fans, because there is very little here which reveal that it´s the same artist who released both "World Without God (1991)" and "Reflections". Other than the brutal growling vocals (which is occasionally complimented by a raw heavy metal oriented vocal style) there is nothing on "Reflections" which is death metal oriented. This is purely hard rock influenced heavy metal.

The playing is organic and the same can be said about the sound production. It´s not the most well sounding production, and unfortunately the songwriting is also a bit one-dimensional and the tracks are generally hard to tell apart. Considering that most hard rock/heavy metal artists aim and succeed at creating catchy and anthemic material, Convulse seem to have forgotten that part of composing less extreme material. Most listeners can accept that extreme metal albums can be a bit one-dimensional in style and that tracks aren´t always easy to tell apart, but when you release something like this, the listener expects a certain degree of cathiness to the material. It´s not that the band aren´t able to make the music swing with an organic playing style, but the material simply isn´t catchy enough. Add to that a sound production which isn´t that well sounding, and "Reflections" overall comes off a bit mediocre. Especially compared to other contemporary releases in a similar style. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.
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