Voices – Frightened (Candlelight/Spinefarm)

Sunday, 6th May 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Already giving the impression that they aren’t out to repeat themselves after the excellent London, Voices have returned for their third album, Frightened. As London was a complex and gritty, film-noir toned album that offered some shimmers of light along the way, Frightened takes a few left turns in ways that may be unexpected. But they still manage to fall within the realm of what seems logical for the band.

A key to Voices’ approach on Frightened is that of contrast. Like London before it, there’s plenty of rather dark, eerie, and occasionally disturbing moments meant to displace the listener. Some blastbeats and Peter Benjamin’s tortured shrieks should just about do it when it comes to leaving a resonating impact, particularly with some of the soundscapes that the band chooses to employ around said areas. But a noticeable difference also comes along in the form of more lush, gothic tones this time. Powerful, emotive, and still fitting in that dreary sense that the band has established, the progressive movements and occasionally bouncy vibes that come about (“Sequences”) have a near uplifting quality to them – a solid and viable contrast from the band’s more abrasive and off-kilter moments (“Evaporated” or “Home Movies”). Rounding things out are some rather poignant segments that really exercise the ‘dark pop’ of the band, such as the closer “Footsteps” or “IWSYA,” where some somber beauty becomes the lay of the land.

Frightened is intricate and layered, yet still breathes with some addictive melodies that are sure to quickly draw your attention. It’s a fantastic combination that draws you back for more in the beginning, yet the progressive leanings below it all will ensure that you still discover something new about the album with each listen. It may not quite follow the projected path, but Voices continue to evolve into something that is unique within the extreme metal scene. It seems their glowing (or macabre) masterpiece isn’t too far off in the distance at this point.

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