Largely entertaining but just missing a vital something...
Finns Nicumo have been around a while now, though Storms Arise is only their second full-length effort (and first in four years).
Muscular, well-produced doom/death with a gothic twist is what emanates from the speakers on putting Storms Arise on, with the strong vocal performance of Hannu Karppinen being the first thing that really grabs hold of the attention.
Whether employing clean or (superbly) dirty voices, the man is clearly straight outta the first division of Finnish vocalists; His work on final track Dream Too Real is quite fantastic in all respects. The man has a delicious low-end croon that would surely make fans of Ville Valo sit up and take notice if only they could get to hear it, whilst the stentorian boom of his death metal stylings, if a little faceless, is still all class.
The trouble is, ‘classy-but-faceless’ might be a good way of summing this band up, as there are just a few too few top-notch songs on Storms Arise for Karpinnen to sing to make the album truly indispensable. Dream Too Real is far and away the pick of the bunch, although single Death, Let Go isn’t too shabby either. It’s just for the most part, the songs slide in and out of your consciousness without really grappling your ears into submission by way of outstanding hooks or above-and-beyond musicianship.
Euro-doom death is an ever-more saturated market, and bands like Nicumo – great musicians to a man, for sure – are always going to find standing out from that crowd a problem if they don’t have truly amazing songs to offer up for the delectation of the mob – it’s sad but true. But if your hunger for the genre is such that you’re happy to listen to the merely very good as opposed to the truly great, then you’ll find plenty to get your teeth into on Storms Arise – especially the vocals of Karpinnen.
Nicumo\s Storms Arise will be released by Inverse Records on July 7th.