If you ever wanted to know how bands like Labyrinth, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius would be with a heavier sound and rougher singing, then look no further than the new MCD Winter in June by Kiuas. This release on the excellent Rage of Achilles label should please those of you who want a little more punch in this style of music.
Winter in June only contains 4 songs, but each is fantastic, and I have found myself playing this release over and over because I just dont want it to end. The album begins with the title track, and as the keyboard melodies, speedy guitars and double bass drumming hit you, right away you get the sense that this is something totally different. Then as soon as you hear Iljas voice you know definitely that you are hearing something truly new. Ilja has a very clean but rough voice, which at times reminds me of Evergreys Tom Englund (but not as refined), as well as Angel Dusts Dirk Thurisch. At the end of Winter in June one can hear a death metal type grunt of the title of the song which is done by Mikko, the guitarist. Mikko provides all the grimmer voices that are not that extreme at all, his style is just very rough, raspy and understandable. In Warrior Soul you can actually hear Mikko and Ilja do a duet in the verses and this is an idea that works rather well - hopefully they will employ this technique in future recordings.
Incidentally Warrior Soul is my favorite song out of Winter in June because it is both extremely energetic and heavy, with a catchy chorus, and excellent guitar and keyboard melodies. Song for the Fells has a slower pace, and a chant-like chorus - I dare you not to sing aloud with Ilja during this part of the track. Finally, Across the Snows has a folk feel to it, complete with flutes, acoustic guitars and Finnish lyrics, and it is extremely well done.
If this is a sign of things to come then Kiuas is a band to watch out for, because Winter in June is an excellent release. That of a band combining various elements of music, and coming out with something that is truly unique and exciting.