It's no new thing to say that Finland is bringing some of the most compelling bands of recent times to the Gothic/Post-Punk realm. Neither is the fact that the majority of these groups are typically skilled in creating old-school sounds with a modernity move. Although at just three years old a relative newcomer, The Flatfield is truly part of this new batch of break-out bands, even more in the light of their impressive debut album "Passionless". Seeds were sown by Ville Gray (vocals/synths) and Dr. J. Ravine (guitars) in 2011. Shortly after, bassist Juha Juntunen and drummer Jaakko Korhonen joined them to complete the line-up (Risto Juntunen has currently been recruited as synth-player). Once the guidelines of its creative output were established, the band took its name from the classic anthem from Bauhaus and, even though it's not a misguided benchmark for their style, there's much more in their music to take pleasure in. Besides the grim invocations from the aforementioned, The Flatfield also aims for Joy Division's oppresive bleakness, The Cure's haunting atmospherics, Deathrock raucous crescendos and, furthermore, they cloak the whole thing in an icy, blackened Synth shroud. So this record virtually leaves nothing to be desired for aging goths and also encloses enough imagination to be reckoned with by youngsters. For instance, "Eternal" might impact you at first listening. It's both mysterious and addictive, propelled by chilly, robotic percussion and bass thrums with cathedral-sized echo. Temperature drops below zero and we're plunged into a weird spaciousness straightaway. Screechy, ethereal guitar figures twirl around and vocals keep the vibe strong and painfully profound. To be honest, I don't remember hearing such gloomy perfection for a long while. For its part, "Praise" comes morbidly wild and hypnotic, almost like a ceremonial take on primitive Deathrock/Post-Punk. Dragged by worn jangly tunes and Ville's brooding moans, the song seamlessly leads into Gothic murky waters over its last half. As partner in that nightmarish slow-burn, "The Witch" seesaws from claustrophobia to anger, driven by a blustery blend of distortions, thuds and throaty yells full of desperation. "New Time" perfectly embodies a frozen wasteland, littered with rumbling bass and ringing guitars shrieking from afar. Singer's soaring sorrow sprays its poisonous burden and synths imbue the track with a mutating glow of radiation and drama. The title track gradually releases its mournful harmony through paired lines of bass and guitar, becoming memorable in the wide-screen choruses. Shivers are certainly sent down the spine throughout this piece and, thereby, it will be inevitably written to your buffer of personal evergreens. "Shore" and "Silence" fluently incorporate some infectious synth grooves reminiscent of the 80's to the mix. The first provides some sort of apocalyptic sci-fi environment through rain simulations, fleeting Nephilim-flavored chords and sidereal keyboards, while the second shares some exciting features with the early recordings of Clan of Xymox. Both tracks run firmly attached to repetitive rhythms akin to seminal Darkwave but excitingly organic. So, It's therefore no much hype to say that "Passionless" comprises seven killers that stretch goth possibilities by bringing back its essence. Probably, one of your more scratched records when this year draws to a close.
Review by Billyphobia