The Dead EP

Written by: PP on 25/07/2009 04:04:55

Why does it seem that Finland's Smokesuit are so much better at writing EP's than full lengths? Their new EP "The Dead EP" returns to the impressive level of songwriting that "The Magnified EP" showcased back in 2006, but what 2008 debut album "Through The Void" lacked in many places. My guess is that the band are too eager to put out songs instead of waiting until they have an album's worth of great songs like those on the two EPs. You can't blame them though, because even at their worst, Smokesuit are very good at re-creating the 90s grunge sound with a modern alternative rock vibe.

One of Smokesuit's biggest strengths has always been their vocalist Marcus Hietanen, who has a fantastic ability to pack a hell of an emotive punch into otherwise calm vocal structures, "Dearly Departed" acting as a great example of how your singing can be calm and still come across as strong and meaningful. I've gotta say though, the song has no contest against "Breathe", a melodic alternative rock piece that properly demonstrates how far Smokesuit has come from sounding like a modern Nirvana back on their debut EP. The verse riffs are bright and relatively high-octane, giving the song a nice speed and urgency, but it's when Hietanen travels up and down on his middle-range vocal scale that you really start to raise your eyebrows for these guys because you seldom hear such awesome sense for restrained melody as is the case on this track, designating the track to be the best Smokesuit track since "Cyanide Mindeye". Had Soundgarden's songs been any faster, they'd be a direct parallel here.

In general, the tracks on "The Dead EP" are much faster than those on the album (much like their fist EP... maybe I'm onto something here?); "Moment Of Company", for instance, kicks off the EP with aggressive riffing fired at the listener in a racy rhythm, which is catchy enough to instantly grab the attention of the listener. The experimental eight minute closing track "The Ghost And The Sun" is an exception as it can almost be called a ballad thanks to it's lengthy underwater ambiance-based intro, and I have to say that although the last four minutes of the song display great songwriting, the first half just seems a tad should I say it diplomatically....pointless compared to the rest of the song. The chorus is great once we actually get to it, but around 5 minutes in is a bit too late to catch my interest in a song. But then again, I've never been a big fan of progressive music, and this track falls into that category in the most classic Led Zeppelin "Stairway To Heaven" sense: the longer the song progresses, the more aggressive Hietanen's vocals become whilst more instruments are added to the mix, becoming gradually louder and louder until a climax before the song just fades away. I don't know about you, but I'm skipping back to "Dearly Departed" and "Breathe" from time and time again simply because their effect is more immediate.

In a more general sense, however, Smokesuit continue to improve on their unique blend of grunge, post-grunge and alternative rock. They're onto something with songs like the two aforementioned, and if they're able to write album's worth of great songs like those in the future, then... well, sky's the limit, as the common saying goes. Right now it feels like they're still so darn close but so far away from becoming the next Finnish rock band with international appeal. Lets hope they'll get it together for the next release.

Download: Breathe
For the fans of: Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Hell Is For Heroes, Nirvana
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.06.2009
Marvellous Mermaid

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