HB - Piikki lihassa/The Jesus metal explosion 2.5/5
2. Mina olen
3. Hank elama 2
4. Ilo herrassa
5. Hylkasitko minut?
8. Han pitaa kadestas kiinni
9. Piikki lihassa
Finnish symphonic metal band HB is back with their 3rd CD 'Piikki lihassa', the follow-up to their excellent and successful 'Frozen inside' (which also exists as the Finnish version 'Enne'). For those familiar with my review of 'Frozen inside' from last year, you know that I like the CD a lot, even though the Christian lyrical theme is taken to the extreme.
So I was very surprised to learn that the band had decided to sing in Finnish for this 3rd CD (though it was later released in English with the title 'The Jesus metal explosion'), as there's no doubt the fact that 'Frozen inside' was sung in English is a big reason they've gained more worldwide recognition. Let's face it, the Finnish language is one of the most unique languages in the world and it's definitely not for everyone.
Thankfully, female vocalist Johanna Aaltonen returns as the vocalist, as she has a wonderful voice and her performance on 'Frozen inside' is fantastic. The same is true with this CD as well, but this time keyboardist (and main songwriter) Antti Niskala is part of the vocal department. He doesn't sing a lot on the CD and he does have a clear voice that's good, though I'll be one of the first to admit that I would definitely prefer Johanna to be the only vocalist.
Because this CD is sung in Finnish, the highly Christian lyrical theme shouldn't impact those who were turned off by the lyrics on 'Frozen inside' (and who can't understand Finnish - like me). However, believe it or not, I really miss the English lyrics (even though they greatly circled religion) and I've struggled with thoroughly enjoying the vocal side of this CD. Between the Finnish language and the addition of Antti, the magic of 'Frozen inside' is slightly missing for me. It's wierd because I absolutely love the Russian language and it's not too different from the Finnish language.
Musically, 'Piikki lihassa' is very similar to the band's previous material, and though it's fairly poppy symphonic metal, for the most part, it's heavy enough to satisfy. The CD starts out strong too, as the first half of the CD is upbeat, memorable, and will be familiar to those that dig 'Frozen inside'. I really like track 2 "Piikki lihassa" and track 3 "Hank elama 2", as they're catchy and remind me of some of the best songs on 'Frozen inside'.
Sadly, the CD goes downhill at the midway point, beginning with the annoying track 6 "Sana", a bouncy song that's sung entirely by Antti and near the end has the feel of a circus show. I now skip that song when I listen to this CD, but regardless of how I feel about that particular song, the remainder of the CD is merely okay. In addition, while I enjoy the slow songs on 'Frozen inside', the slow songs that fill a good portion of the 2nd half of this CD just simply aren't as good.
While there's the possibility that this CD will eventually be released in English, I can only hope so, as there's a chance I will like it more than this version. I'm still confident in saying that the songs on this CD aren't at the level of the songs on 'Frozen inside', but the truth is that the Finnish language (and the addition of Antti) has brought the enjoyment down even more for me. So with feelings of disappointment, I'll end this review by calling 'Piikki lihassa' decent, but not near the level of 'Frozen inside'.
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