Rifftera – Across the Acheron

Band: Rifftera
Title: Across the Acheron
Label: Inverse Records
Release Date: 18 January 2019
Country: Finland
Format Reviewed: High quality digital promo

Looking at the Blessed Altar Zine secret warehouse with new stuff, I found the Finnish RIFFTERA new album on the shelves. The name made me impression in both directions – it had to be huge riffs in the doom field for instance, and heavily and loudly chopping them as PANTERA- or CROWBAR-like. From other hand, ammm, the name just didn’t resonated well with me simply because of what I was expected. Well none of the above happened in reality just because the music of the band lies on the path to the melodic death metal, with influences from modern(!) metal, thrash, some gothic, and atmo keys on top. This is it mainly but not only. Let me continue.

Janne Hietala (gutars and vocals) formed RIFFTERA in 2010 as a studio project, dedicated on unleashing riffs and ideas around, and recording music as he wanted to. Antti Pöntinen (bass) and Jupe Karhu (keys) also joined Janne. In 2012 the second guitarist Mikko Kuoppamaa joined the band and he started perform the band’s clean singing leaving for Janne to deal only with the screaming parts. This line up along with their friend Thomas Tunkari (Dark Sarah) as a session drummer released the debut album “Pitch Black” which reached 37th position in the official Finnish chart. Finally in 2016 the band got its own drummer with Ville Härkönen. And now band’s second effort named “Across the Acheron” is out with this full line-up.

“Across the Acheron” begins even in the filed of sympho-black with the opener “Burning Paradise” but somehow in the middle, the track changes into more melodic especially when clean vocals and more modern riffs/solo appear, leading into Soilwork’s territory.  “Two side of a story” is an absolute TO/DIE/FOR worship track. I was actually blasted to listen to so much similarity there! I mean I like the track for its sensuality and melody, but the influence is very obvious. “Eye of the storm” continues the SOILWORK  or TO/DIE/FOR line, adding some KELDIAN feel to the list, combining grim vocals and clean parts, with some frantic riffs and blastbeats. “Cutthroat Game” is even more melodic, with clean vocals, some thrashy riffs and catchy headbaning parts. “Cry Wolf” is a complete thrash (!) song in its essence. It differs a lot from the rest on the album, and this is something the band had to think about.  “Warmonger” begins again with some heavy thrashy riffing, dark keys, until reaching the very very enjoyable chorus in the field of To/Die/For, and ending into some already familiar chopped parts and riffs. (I’ll let everyone to discover for himself). “Deep Water” is so TO/DIE/FOR again with some EVERGREY taste and nice melodic guitars. The album finishes with 11 minutes’ title track – slow, more torturous, heavy, symphonic in the beginning, until the clean vocals parts. There the track becomes light, open, positive – it’s like the ship has found land after a storm crossing the Acheron.

“Across the Acheron” actually continues the line of “Pitch Black” in general in terms of compositions. However, it is much more polished, more cheese even. Yes it sound sounds strong, loud, solid, and the band obviously worked hard in the studio. Having said all the above in brief, the album was drowning slowly with every other listen. I love TO DIE FOR and SOILWORK, and finding so much of them here is just not in band’s favour. The keys are adding some Fear Factory and EVERGREY vibes here and there too. KELDIAN feel is also spread around the bill. Sympho black parts presented as well…There are so many influences! Stylistically still I find lurking in the dark though and I hope that the guys will straight up this in their next album. 6.5/10 Count Vlad

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6.5/10 We May Survive
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