Perihelion Ship | A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring
Label : Independent
Release Year : 2016
Country : Finland
Genre : Extreme Progressive Metal
Andreas Hammer – Guitar, Vocals
Jani Konttinen – Hammond Organ, Mellotron
Jouko Lehtonen – Bass Guitar
Jari-Markus Kohijoki – Drums
Additional Performances on final track A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring.
Joonas Pyhtilä – Drums on Carved In Ashes
Alma von Creutlein – The Many Voices of the Godmachine
To be completely honest with you, Perihelion Ship is perhaps one of 2016’s and progressive metal’s best kept secrets. Perihelion Ship has only been together since 2014 and has released A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring independently. This band that hails out of Finland must of had a progressive rock and progressive metal time capsule they dug up in Helsinki. I mean this band here embody all of the hallmarks of early progressive pioneers such as Yes, Genesis, Can and Amon Duii II with the modern metal elements of DEATH, Katatonia, Dream Theater and Opeth, also drawing inspirations from dark progressive bands such as Anekdoten and Änglagård.
Perihelion Ship have totally stripped out glossy keyboard elements that seem to over saturate the progressive metal market in exchange for the vintage Hammond organ and Mellotron giving them a very unique and dark sound not heard of since Opeth’s towering opus Ghost Reveries was released in 2005. Jani Konttinen – Hammond Organ, Mellotron seems to be channeling a inner spiritual voice of Jon Lord meets Rick Wakeman with a slight avant-garde twist of Irmin Schmidt of Can.
Perihelion Ship’s extreme element comes in with the ferocious and beautifully done vocals of Andreas Hammer. Andreas’ vocals are like a wonderful cocktail of Chuck Schuldiner DEATH meets early Katatonia Jonas Renske and Pre- Watershed Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. He perfectly balances the ‘death growls’ with the cleaner vocals throughout A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring. This is also done with the blistering bass/drum rhythm sections of Jouko Lehtonen – Bass Guitar and Jari-Markus Kohijoki – Drums as well as a blistering down tuned rhythm guitar. Do not let the 50:02 , five track modest length of A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring deceive you. It is more loaded than most of the lighter more ambitious progressive music out there. Now let’s look at some highlights of Perihelion Ship’s A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring.
Misplaced Rainfall begins with a very eerie and dark Hammond style passage. Soon this is joined in with a very dark and brooding acoustical guitar followed by an all out metal assault. The galloping passage with all its twists and time signatures really straps in the listener for the journey to come. After the 2:50 mark the dark clean vocal sets up for another dark acoustical passage before exploding into a full on extreme death growl that is used both as a vocal and instrument. The Hammond organ gives this a very brooding yet dark sound. Misplaced Rainfall is arranged perfectly on the album due to the fact it shows many dimensions to the band’s sound and delivery.
The Emperor Idea opens up with a straight on progressive death metal passage that reminds me a lot of Opeth’s Demon Of The Fall. It is one relentless pounding of time signatures and passages combined with a brutal deathy vocal quality that could rival any band on the planet. The Emperor Idea fluctuates in and out between brutal complex time signatures backed by the growls with highly harmonic and melodic clean vocal principals. The Hammond is just as present as well as any other instrument on the album. This one has a heavy Deep Purple vibe about it.
Fool of White Antlers begins with a beautiful soothing guitar and rhythm section with a warm clean vocal allowing for the listener to really settle in for the other half of A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring. This calm and lucid passage has the appeal to a older more traditional progressive audio pallet while appealing to the modern progressive scrutiny. It has many twists and turns like a progressive roller coaster in the rhythm section building towards a heavier sound and passages. This ends with a elegant ‘death growl’ as both instrument and a vocal.
The Poet From The Mad Moon begins with a smooth guitar intro with a synth produced vocal chant almost like a mini choir before setting up the clean vocal passage around the 1:00 mark. The Hammond organ commands the full attention of the listener giving the track a very vintage and haunting atmosphere. This track is a perfect bridge towards the fifth and final self titled track A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring.
A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring incorporates all the hallmarks of a vintage progressive rock epic clocking in at 21:07. A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring wastes absolutely no time getting into the very heavy progressive time signatures and very metal elements. This one is blistering from the beginning note to the last and final note. The first 2:00 minutes are blistering before lowering down with a lush acoustical guitar passage with a tastefully done spoken word carrying over it. With grace and poise the band starts to sound like 25+ year veterans with forming only two years ago in 2014.
A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring sounds like the beautiful union between Dream Theater’s A Change Of Seasons meets Opeth’s Black Rose Immortal. It has many sections and various bridges that join those sections like the perfect progressive puzzle. The band does this in such a way to allow the listener to breath and absorb every note and passage written recorded and produced. It balances both the death growl’s and clean vocals perfectly. A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring as the self titled track also paints a motion picture inside the theater of the mind of the listener the more the listener is involved with the track itself.
For a band just together only two short years, Perihelion Ship has definitely made one of the biggest statements for a debut album in extreme progressive metal and progressive rock history. A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring is the strongest debut ever in the history of the extreme progressive death metal genre. It is stronger than even Opeth’s Orchid and Katatonia’s A Dance Of December Souls. The fact this was all we written, recorded, produced and financed without the help of a record label is reason I give this a 5/5 for sheer excellence and independent quality.