Finnish semi-newcomers Excuse are an intriguing proposition; Seemingly falling between too many stools to be true contenders at first listen, they nevertheless provide a cogent argument for further investment from the listener by the end of this first full length release.
Ostensibly the band exists to provide old-school speed metal thrills and spills, where ‘speed metal’ refers to that nebulous moment in metal before thrash, death and black metal farewelled each other and set off on different paths to make their fortunes. However, like many bands that existed in speed metal’s brief ‘heyday’, they are so rooted in traditional metal as to often appear simply as a speeded up metal band with pronounced NWoBHM influences. The fast-paced Blade of Antichrist is perhaps the only track here that really harks back to the glory days of early eighties ‘extremity’, but even then a huge nod to Iron Maiden rears it’s head midway through the song to remind you of where, really, this band is coming from. That said, it’s mighty fine stuff – mighty fine indeed, if truth be told – especially the monumental bass playing of Atte Aaltonen, with only the guttural, rough growling of guitarist Oskar Lindström staying rooted firmly in blacker territories.
At times he’s a little reminiscent of Razor’s Stace ‘Sheepdog’ McLaren, at others Kreator’s Mille Petrozza, but on the band’s more progressive material – the eleven minute closer Watchtower of The Trans-Dimension, for example – he sounds a little out on a limb as the band stretch out and exhibit a slightly less primal side to their character. But for the most part this is a band that very much presents as a coherent unit, and one with bags of potential for future excellence to boot.
Towards the end of the album’s title track you’ll find your fingers cramping up as you attempt, fruitlessly, to air-guitar along with the frantic soloing of Anselmi Ahopalo; the band’s almost naïve enthusiasm and exuberance draw you in, almost imperceptibly but also irresistibly, meaning such digit-pain is sadly inevitable. PFTOC is that sort of an album – absorbing heavy metal. I think you’ll like it!
Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos is out on August 2nd.