Finnish born prog metal outfit Sisare may have started out on extreme grounds, but even at their first full length those thoughts had been left behind. Atmosperically driven prog metal bordering the Haken-ish lines of prog rock and metal, with hints of acts like Thence, they then broke into something softly breathing, which has now been evolved a step further. Come their second full length, titled Leaving The Land, the extreme elements have given way to something less experimental, leaving much of the heaviness present on debut album Nature’s Despair (2013) at the door, resulting in an experience that is in its entirety and cut into pieces more convincing, more a whole entity than its predecessor. Severi Peura and Timo Lehtonen, both handling guitars (the former also on vocal duty), are the key factors on the album, bringing technical skills as well as emotional timing aplenty across the playtime. The album, at just over 40 minutes long and six tracks, leave little room for filler, as every song on here deliver the same amount of emotional serenity. Though they differ in mood and setting they all have in common the toned down beginning and growth into something much, much bigger.
The songs start off slow, melodic lead guitar somewhat subdued in the background, but ultimately build in intensity, leading to crescendos heavy on the feeling and dense with emotion. Hermanni Piltti’s bass lines litter the album like gravy thick fog, coating it in a dense splendor, delivered not in rumbling ferocity or driving heaviness, but in building an atmospheric foundation based on simplicity that at times delve into the arcane but always staying one pace behind the guitars as they deliver blistering solos or energetically low key lead passages. Though not aiming for the stars, they all progress into majestic pieces of starlight in their own right. Be it the thrifty soloing in Mountains or the emotional yet simple leads in Geno or the fickle vocal lines of Peura in closing track Perception, they all lead the same place, though never failing to be interesting in their own right; there is nothing that feels same-y, it all helps build the whole into something entirely unique.
The six songs vary in length by only a minute, Shattered clocking in at just over six minutes and Mountains and Perception both finishing at slightly over seven. That gives all the songs time aplenty to evolve on their own, but one downside is that one finds oneself wanting more! It’s not based on showmanship or noodling one way or the other, but on solid songwriting with a purpose that does not fail; no track truly stands out as superior to another, they all deliver something unique and equally important to the overall feeling of the album. The guitars remain ever present, marking the melodic tinges, and there are hooks aplenty that see the music turn into highly efficient and emotional solos. With Leaving The Land the boys from the land of the northern lights seem to evoke some hidden, warm feeling inside, and the album entire makes for a serene, yet uplifting experience. The album is not perfect, but in its peaks it paints soundscapes unparalleled. Turn the lights off, the volume up and let the tunes flow naturally, peace of mind follows.
Standout tracks: Do yourself a favor and just give the entire album a whirl