Words: Craig Hartranft
With a career spanning some 20 years, often times made rocky due to ever present personnel changes, Finland's To/Die/For returns with their seventh album, Cult. If you're counting that's only three albums since 2006, pretty spotty.
As you might suspect, Cult is merely a continuation of their melodic hard rock and metal, infused with a melancholic goth tone. Lots of down tuned guitars, bleak pianos, and most everything sounding like it was developed in a minor key in it's origins. But the oddity, the curiosity, of gothic rock and metal, especially with TDF, is that underneath is this cool rock, almost pop like, groove.
Then there's a bunch of quite rousing guitar solos, almost gleefully buoyant. The groove and guitar lines are the best thing about To/Die/For. What's up with that? So are they happy or sad, melancholic or joyful? I don't think they even know. It's almost a gimmick. And Jape Perätalo continues with his raspy, but melodic, vocals. He sounds like a creepier Billy Idol at times. Instead of wanting to shag your girlfriend ala Idol, Peratalo sounds as if he wants you participate in some cathartic emotional nave gazing. I really don't enjoy his voice. If they got a new and better vocalist, I wouldn't miss him.
But wait. Then I pieced this altogether. The riffs, the synths, the vocals, and the groove make To/Die/For sound like another Finnish export, Lordi, without the stupid monster outfits, but with a truckload more guitar solos. Best picks: Let It Bleed, Unknown Ill, and Straight Up, all mostly for the guitar solos. Otherwise, I guess I still don't "get" goth rock/metal.
As you might suspect, Cult is merely a continuation of their melodic hard rock and metal, infused with a melancholic goth tone. Some things never change.
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