Radiance – The Burning Sun

Radiance is the solo project of Sami Raatikainen, a Finish guitarist and music composer, who currently plays in Necrophagist and Codeon. “The Buring Sun” is his first full-length album, which can be viewed as a 49-minute-long epic of modern progressive metal the way it should sound these days. To be a bit more precise and descriptive, I'll simply say that IT'S PURE FUCKING EPIC!

An album like this is really hard to describe because you'll need to compare it to something, but the best thing about it is that it sounds so unique and not like anything else you have heard before. The best way it could be described is a mix of modern djent, power and ambient metal. But such a description doesn't reflect the brilliance of this album and its structural complexity that make it so unique. There's a solid foundation of Meshuggah-like rhythmic structures but in a more melodic direction, spiced up with great and diverse guitar work (but without fanatic shredding), a lot of electronic synths and pads that enhance the atmosphere, and a superb clean power metal vocal that makes the whole record really epic.

Sami Raatikainen has composed and recorded all the music, and written the lyrics, while the vocal duties were handed to Mats Levén who has a very impressive portfolio including the work with Yngwie Malmsteen, Therion, Krux, Abstrakt Algebra, Amaseffer, At Vance, Lion's Share, AB/CD, Apocalyptica, Jupiter Society, Adagio, and Narnia. And mister Levén did a killer job on this record, bending his clear and strong voice in all directions that music took him. There are also occasional female vocals performed by Noora Häkkinen that enhance the atmosphere but do not stand out much. The record sounds awesome in terms of mix and mastering, which was also done by Sami Raatikainen. The sound is very clear, bright and atmospheric, and you can hear every little part very well. Simply amazing!

This album doesn't sound like your typical djent project recorded in a home studio (think of Bulb, Periphery, Tesseract, Vildhjarta and many other newer bands) as you can clearly see that the music is composed by a mature musician that knows how to use different elements to make a really great record. “The Burning Sun”is composed as a single song but don't confuse it with “Sol Niger Within” or “Catch 33”, because it takes Meshuggah-style riffing to horizons that no one could ever imagine. There are so many different parts in this record, ranging from epic riffs to ambient interludes and fast power-metal parts that it sound like a sonic journey that the genius of Sami Raatikainen wants you to take with him. And the best thing about “The Burning Sun” is that despite the different and seemingly incompatible elements it is comprised of, this record sounds very solid and integral. It is what progressive metal should sound like in 2010, since the genre has become a paramount of conservatism and there are rarely works like this that bring a breath of fresh air to enjoy.

If you really love progressive metal and want to hear something that sounds new and different, you will certainly enjoy “The Burning Sun” as much as I did. If you want to hear another clone of Meshuggah, the clear vocals might turn you off a bit, but it's impossible to resist the instrumental arrangements on this CD. It's a perfect record that can be rotated week after week, and it only gets better with each listen.

1. Lambda 475
2. The Burning Sun
3. Lambda 610
4. 0
5. Downward Spiral
6. Lambda 690
7. Conclusion
Self released
Reviewer: twansibon
Nov 14, 2010

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