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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Review: Memoremains – The Cost of Greatness

Label: Self released

Date: October 16th, 2020

Well ain’t this just sugar, spice and everything nice… Seriously, if you’re a metal puritan just skip this review. There’s no point reading further. Finnish quintet with keyboards and female vocals is something you are highly allergic to.

As for the rest of you, Memoremains is a band that I can easily see myself rooting for on some Eurovision song contest.

It is not such a rare occasion that a band provides an accurate description of what they are trying to portray. Still, in this case it is amazing to which extent it goes. I could easily just copy the press release and be done with the review.

Now, even if “The Cost of Greatness” is the debut release by the Finns, it seems they are already on the right track. At least when it comes to live appearances, as they were supposed to have some quite serious performances this year. Even before the album was released. And it is no wonder, as music like this is ever popular.

Of course, this form of catchy pop metal is easy on the ears and can rush to vast number of people pretty fast. It is important right now to say that you shouldn’t think of Nightwish or their likes. Even if the line-up (and music to some extent) does bear such connotations. Memoremains’ music does stem from those operatic gothic metal. However, it leaves its roots towards different goals. Primarily pop. And disco. Yes! Disco! It is in those memorable arrangements that you will find a connection to the time when pop was actually thought through. When it comes to disco, the one link I’ve been able to find is in the tone of the keyboards. They do sound like those recognizable synths, most of the time. Furthermore, the keyboards are usually put to the front, right aside the vocals. Both of them are key features of the album. Guitars do get their moments in the spotlight, but as I get to the closing of the record I can mostly recall only keyboard passages and those catchy choruses. Rhythm section is also mostly present as a backbone, with little room to play.

As I mentioned the voice of lovely Johanna Ahonen (any relation to Janne Ahonen?), you should forget about any of those operatic overtures that made Nightwish famous. She actually keeps her voice on the “ground level”. Strong and convincing performance altogether. Whether along melancholic or straight forward lines, she commands Memoremains’ music. Reminded me of her southwestern colleague from Delain (though Charlotte has the operatic overtone at times).

As mentioned in the press release, Memoremains is genre bending. Another accurate description, as I cannot quite call them original or ground breaking, but they are certainly bending the limitations of operatic gothic metal. Pushing the genre forward is probably a necessity these days, as most of the titans are stuck in a rut for a while now. Memoremains might just be an act that will bring this midlife crisis to a halt.