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NOWEN
NOWEN
Essence Of Fear
(Violent Journey Records)
48:36min

It's been just a year ago when the Finnish Death / Thrash Metal combo NOWEN released their debut record ("Nothing But Hate") through an independent Finnish label Violent Journey Records - and this follow-up album, titled "Essence Of Fear", came out from them already. Woah, cannot blame them for any laziness songwriting-wise anyway, but then again I am hoping their follow-up record does not sound like it would be some sort of a rushed thing since so little time has passed by in between their 2 albums. So, does "Essence Of Fear" sound like a rushed effort then? Nope, not at all. In fact, it sounds like a more mature, challenging and polished effort from them compared to the times of their debut album. This time, you can hear from everything the guys have truly taken their time, and tried to make an as good album as possible from the top of their skills they have. If "Nothing But Hate" was overall a more straightforward package from NOWEN, on "Essence Of Fear" they have clearly added a few more dangerous curves into the songs, just to make things a bit more interesting both for listeners and themselves also. Obviously this prog-ish bug has bitten the guys pretty badly as a matter of speaking, leaving a vast enough amount of poison into these lads' blood circulating system to make the band to sound like a more progressive era DEATH here and there, which ain't any bad sign in my books anyway. There's undoubtedly a fair enough dose of "Human", "Individual Thought Patterns" and "Symbolic" eras DEATH squeezed into "Essence Of Fear", so in that sense I'd say the NOWEN camp is heading towards way more interesting yet rewarding times musically. Chuck's strong ghost is definitely a part of "Essence Of Fear" - and nothing stops me liking the fact NOWEN have been able to show their own tribute this way to one of the forefathers of Death Metal, Chuck Schuldiner. However, don't read me wrong as it's not only about aping DEATH's pro-gish era the best they can on "Essence Of Fear" but also about throwing in something of their own as well. With many levels of musical variation (unexpected tempo changes - from fast and slower tempos, nice and almost amazingly catchy melody lines, beautifully audible yet very challenging bass parts and so on) they have managed to absorb into this record, it's already certain that NOWEN have finally started making things to happen for them. All the 10 songs they have got for "Essence Of Fear", speak for some great musical potential the guys have. It's gonna be interesting to see which type of musical way they will choose for themselves from this surprisingly good record onward, when the right time comes to record the band's 3rd album. I for one, am already excited to find that out. www.myspace.com/nowenband

Luxi Lahtinen

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