This sort of heavily layered progressive metal from Scandinavia is rarely the sort of thing that rarely clicks with me despite my continued fandom of groups like Borknagar, Enslaved and Amorphis throughout the years. Fireproven are a modern vision of progressive metal with a tendency towards the more popular output you’ll see from Nuclear Blast Europe at a regular clip. In fact when I was researching the band I found several attempts to add them to Metal-Archives with continual denial based on well, not being metal enough. In general I would agree that they aren’t metal enough but perhaps not so little that they’re not fit for inclusion, especially considering their instrumentation uses instrumentation, ‘riffs’ if you will, that may dabble with djent-like candor but largely aims for something in the ballpark of Leprous, and Disillusion but with clear Finnish popular metal influences.
Where this sort of progressive metal falls for me is in it’s halfway-there treatment of melodic death metal that only hints at the greatness of groups like Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium and instead only aesthetically conjures their atmospherics. Without guitar riffs the death metal growls and harsh moments are window dressing without inspiring execution. ‘Future Diary’ excels far more in their rock influenced songwriting than they do in the realm of extreme metal influenced moments, “Sea of Fear” is the perfect example of their JRPG soundtrack-esque keyboard abilities and ‘Am Universum’-like appeal. The rough growls and chuggy guitar parts only create a little extra chaos that is lost upon extreme metal weirdos like me, and useless drapery that distracts from some really fantastic guitar playing otherwise.
As a sucker for a good keyboard player I have to say that Ilari Hannula‘s range of style and experimentation is quite good and just as enjoyable as Santeri Kallio or similar prog-metal work coming from Finland. I found myself most drawn to his soloing and incorporation with the more driven guitar work. My overall impression of the ‘metal’-ness of ‘Future Diary’ did kind of collide like a weird version of an old Soilwork album at times, but I felt like Hannula‘s keyboard work was a large part of my enjoyment when returning to the album. That isn’t to say the rest of the record is forgettable, though, and it is appropriately long and detailed in structure with vocal melodies at the center of each movement.
“Sea of Fear”, “Future Diary” and “Alone in the Dark” are clear standouts for me personally, as I found the most spirited performances and some semblance of the unpredictable in each. I have the same complaints about most progressive metal albums and it they are no different for Fireproven‘s debut, it all comes down to slicing off the extra 15 minutes of redundancy that any given prog album inevitably has. ‘Future Diary’ may be a relatively standard progressive metal record with a fairly standard sound but the project is entirely professional and the band members all contribute impressive performances throughout. I have a preference for the keyboard heavy work, but the vocalist and lead guitarist play equally impressive roles throughout. I would recommend this to fans of middle-era Amorphis, Witherscape, and Disillusion.
|Released||March 23, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Fireproven on Facebook|
Perish through refinement. 2.75/5.0
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