When I was in elementary school, every day after coming home I’d turn on the TV and watch cartoons, all of which came from Japan. Obviously, I was too young to know that, as the characters all had Italian voices, but they intrigued me quite a lot. So, fast forward to a few years ago, driven by this passion I started studying Japanese. It should come as no surprise that when I heard the news of this Finnish power metal band about to release a record that focuses on this marvelous country, I had to grab it as quickly as I could.
Metal De Facto combines my three favorite topics: Finnish bands, metal music, and Japanese heritage. So let’s go deeper into “Land Of The Rising Sun Part I”. I’d like to start by complimenting the production, mastering, and mixing: a pristine job, finally, the bass has its rightful place in the listening experience. It would be a crime to hide the wonderful Sami Hinkka, so I have to praise his skills and his sound on the record.
The melodies could use a bit more variety, but there are some examples of greatness like in “Code Of The Samurai” and “Divine Wind“, where the group shows us the potential they have. I want to applaud also the guitar solos and riffs, which show experimentation, innovation, and yet simplicity to be appreciated by everyone. Esa Orjatsalo and Mikko Salovaara mastered some very elegant sounds, supported by the ever-present drums by Atte Marttinen. Let’s not forget Benji Klint-Connelly on keyboards, who magnificently ties all the instruments under his symphonic wing, and Aitor Arrastia who has demonstrated a real gift with his vocals.
Expect a typical power metal record, but don’t expect anything too ordinary. Metal De Facto has many influences that however add value to the record, and they are not afraid to try new combinations or approaches, like the beginning of “Slave To The Power“. It takes courage and passion to go outside the comfort zone, and that is where we know that it’s the road to success. The narration in the closing suite “47 Ronin” gives to the record an authentic feeling, immersing the listener even more and allowing them to fight alongside the warriors.
I’m afraid I cannot categorize it as a masterpiece, but the album goes very close. This ensemble has definitely what it takes to deliver excellent products, and we’re all here for it. But for now, we must enjoy “Land Of The Rising Sun Part I” thoroughly, because, like Japan, it has harmony, consideration, obligation, and entertainment. Pack your armor, your beliefs, and your identity: it’s time to join the Samurai!