Thales – A World Beyond


Jul 15, 2001
The starry attic
Thales – A World Beyond
Demo – Self Released 2001
By Russell Garwood

Finnish band Thales play melodic, complex, emotional death metal (being large Opeth and Dark Tranquility fans themselves) with progressive structures and frequent acoustic passages. The “A World Beyond” demo consists of four songs written between 1996 and 2001. The band’s two latest songs are titled “Song One” (a version of which is now available for download with vocals under the name "Torn"!) and “Song Eleven”

The guitars, courtesy of Lasse Kristiansen and Jani Mikkonen, are intricate, weaving around the other elements and speaking volumes. They negotiate numerous time changes with ease and help provide subtle transitions between heavy and acoustic sections. The bass is far back in the mix but manages to bring to mind the early Opethian sound and complexity. Juuso Backman’s drums are impressive, providing a tight, reliable, driving rhythm section while embellishing the music and becoming more than just a supporting instrument. There are also, in “World Beyond” and “Pellucid Lake”, well-placed keyboards and piano which add variety and enhance the striking melodies. When “A World Beyond” was recorded, Thales were lacking a vocalist, which makes the amount of emotion and feeling that the music carries more impressive.

Opener “Solace” was written in 1996 by Lasse and Jani. Opening with an uneasy feel, the track progresses into a more majestic, sweeping section after an acoustic phrase around a minute in. The jumping but cohesive guitar line continues until a more abrupt change at which an acoustic passage begins. The eerie feeling returns with sporadic discords grabbing your attention before another melodic but heavy section. After numerous time changes and another quiet section the track ends sharply, heralding the intro of “Desolation”.

This song from ’99 was also penned by Lasse and Jani, who found it a far easier song to write then their first. After the heavy intro and a slight change in character, the song settles at a faster pace than the previous track. The bass section at 2:20 has to be the most DeFaralla-influenced on the album, and the acoustics at 3:20 demonstrate not only impressive, relaxed drumming, but a jazzier feel.

By track three, “Pellucid Lake”, Lasse and Jani’s increasing experience in song-writing is becoming apparent (the song having been re-worked since its conception in ’96). Keyboards are used for the first time (programmed by Lasse), creating a chaotic, crazed feel at times, but not detracting in the slightest from the other elements. The quieter sections are made more poignant by the presence of strings, and are better integrated.

On “World Beyond” this development is even more apparent. This time written by Juuso and Jani, the song opens with piano (programmed by Juuso) before distorted guitars kick in. The song feels cohesive, and the flowing acoustic sections provide excellent refrains from the harsher passages.

The band’s latest tracks (as yet untitled), “Song One” and “Song Eleven”, were written by all three members, and Lasse and Jani respectively, in 2002. Showing more technical guitars with increasingly frequent solos the emotion remains. There is more change in the dynamics and tempo and generally more varied writing. Quite an achievement…

Thales show great potential, and, with the recent addition of a vocalist (Marko Eskola of Farmakon fame), it seems unlikely they will remain without a label for any length of time (despite the large number of melodic death bands surfacing at the present time). With excellent artwork courtesy of Kevin Lanthier (Hoserhellspawn), which matches the music to perfection, “A World Beyond” is an impressive demo from a band with a very bright future…

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