** After a late night driving session with a friend who was trying to trick me into falsely identifying Finnish melodic death/rock outfit Fall of the Leafe's third album, Fermina, I figured the Deciblog could use some Finnish mastery. Though this piece would go nicely to complement my cover story on Finland (HERE), it's really too hard to forget how great Fall of the Leafe were. Early on, they held the tenets of melodic death metal tight--with flair--but as they matured, so too did the music. OK, so albums from Fermina on were light on death metal, they were heavy on wicked riffs, oddball songwriting, crazy singing, and emotion. Check out my favorite Fall of Leafe tunes below!
5. Morning Works
The Cure is invoked on "Morning Works" rainy disposition. But there's plenty of surprising metal outcroppings as well. Even though I have no idea what Tuomas Tuominen is saying in the chorus--or anywhere, in fact--, the urge to sing along is strangely attractive. See, Fall of the Leafe have this ability to pull in all kinds of influences and make them sound--mostly--in unison. "Morning Works" is a true rock song from a band fighting to jettison its metalisms without actually doing so. Excellent for overcast days or Hump Days.
4. All the Good Faith
Few knew Aerolithe would be the Finns' last album, but it's up there as one of the best in the group's repertoire. Vocalist Tuomas Tuominen had come into his own--no more marble-in-mouth vocals--and guitarists Kaj Gustafsson and Jussi Hänninen had also nailed their melodic rock, semi-metal thing, invoking as much The Cure-with-double-bass as anything else. Though Aerolithe has many cool songs, opener "All the Good Faith" takes it, if only for the sweet lead-riff and the cool refrain.
3. Deference, Diminuend
Following Evanescent, Everfading, Fall of the Leafe dropped a veritable melodic-black bomb on August Wernicke. Actually, the black metal is more in sentiment than in sound, but it's there. "Deference, Diminuend" comes out of the gate blasting, with the melodic lines of Mika Rostedt and Jussi Hänninen cutting through the aggression. Tuomas Tuominen's vocals are tortured, his yearn to sing not quite yet in place. If there's a melodic death metal uncovered gem, it's absolutely, August Wernicke. Check out the whole album for more stunners.
2. Chameleon Loop
Clearly, by the time Fermina hit distros in 2002, Fall of the Leafe had graduated from melodic death metal to, well, melodic rock. Long-time fans were dismayed to not hear Tuomas Tuominen's harsh vocals, as they were to not hear blast beats and forest savagery. Too bad, actually. "Chameleon Loop" is one of the best The Cure songs that weren't part of The Cure discography. Kaj Gustafsson and Jussi Hänninen cut a visciously post-punk rug with their intro suite. The song gets 'heavier' as it progresses, but when the intro set repeats it's pretty much all over. Katatonia did something similar on "Scarlet Heavens", going from blackened doom to goth rock. Though Fall of the Leafe's attempt, in retrospect, has aged slightly better, even if Tuominen's singing after too many tequila shots.
1. The Celestial Keeper
Fall of the Leafe landed in underground obscurity on Colorado-based Defiled Records. Melodic death metal, or the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal, had, by that point, worn out its welcome. There were hordes of second, third, and fourth tier bands aiming for a slice of Gothenburg's greatest--At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames--pie. Most didn't come close. Finland's Fall of the Leafe, however, approached melodic death metal with a totally different musical, view, as "The Celestial Keeper" is rife with folk melodies, black metal essence, and white-hot aggression. In reality, Fall of the Leafe approached the same melodic death metal problem from a different angle, much like Amorphis did the Stockholm Death sound back in the early '90s.