Sound: So here we are again. The Finnish band myGRAIN are a special case in the melodeath scene because of two elements: Their vocalist has one of the most 'metal' singing voices ever and the band itself is practically a supergroup. The keyboard players from epic doom band Ablaze in Hatred, the drummer was from extinct industrial band ...And Oceans and one of the guitarists was in extinct band Misery Inc. Having done two fairly noticeable albums noted for their keyboard sections (of which many were bad) and catchy vocal passages. The difficult third album, safe to say, is a step up on both fronts.
The vocals have been given the multitrack treatment which was lacking a bit in previous albums so the end effect is that the vocals grab your balls a bit tighter. The keyboard sections are thankfully MUCH BEEEEETTEEEER although there can be some lumps of cheddar here and there. Many of the synths in the previous album 'Orbital Dance' were so cheesy that Herman Li would've yelped. Now though, adopting a similar sound to the keyboardist from Symphony X, the keys are like an added lead element instead of a cheese grinder. The 'cosmic' sounding melodies in the chorus's are eerily reminiscent of Natural Born Chaos, and although it works well, they end a little too soon or have weird aharmonic notes launched in to them, maybe to add some...thing. Doesn't always work in their favour though, save a few songs.
The guitar work is pretty good as well, a change from 120bpm chuggychugg to more thrashy, fast chainsaw riffs. The solo-work is still the same as it was, yet it didn't need any improvement anyway (myGRAIN do great solo's). The drumming is fairly good, reminds me a lot of Zonaria and keeps the grooves flowing nicely. Finland does not disappoint. // 8
Lyrics: The vocals are still as good as they were since Signs of Existence. However, the vocals didn't really need much improving in the first place so hearing them as they are is a good thing. As mentioned, most of them are given the heavy multitrack treatment with at least 4 or 5 vocal tracks being used for a chorus line.
Much like forerunners and popular targets Soilwork, myGRAIN's lyrical content is based around science and cosmic-ness. That is as much as I've been able to fathom, you know how these melodeath artists love to conceal their themes with words. Still, at least the vocalist can get them across perfectly because of his vocal clarity. // 7
Overall Impression: Melodeath is hardly the most diverse genre but many bands do have their own unique edges about them. myGRAIN take all the good bits from the most popular bands in the scene and actually make it work and somehow end up still being heavier than most of the more popular bands (or at least, a lot faster).
Still, although the synths have improved, there is still a bit too much 1980's electro pop in some places. At times its just.. very annoying on an album where everything else is pretty damn good.
Songs to look out for: 'Into The Parallel Universe', 'Shadow People', 'Of Immortal Aeons', 'A Clockwork Apocalypse', 'Xenomorphic', 'Cataclysm Child' (no relation to Dimmu Borgir). // 8