Edge of Haze – The Convoy of Ruin (Darkening Tone Records)Wednesday, 2nd November 2022
Contemporary developments in the progressive metal landscape have broadened horizons – incorporating numerous outside influences that color styles in bold, fresh directions. Finnish act Edge of Haze embraces that innovative stance through a multifaceted vocal/musical adventurous approach on this latest full-length The Convoy of Ruin. The four-piece employs dual clean/growl voicing, riffing that can be explosive as it is exquisite, beyond the groove meets technical rhythm section passages present track to track. Where these musicians stand apart from the pack is in the ability to synthesize all these moving parts into compact, focused arrangements that resonate in melodic splendor – angles from djent/modern metal all the way to 80’s synth pop next to progressive/extreme heaviness flowing seamlessly in hypnotic, ear-pleasing bliss.
Contrasts abound, shimmering in this subtle emotional shift where the listener can be swayed one way in a given part, only to be thrown into another feel by the next. That takes place right away on the opener “Floods”, the circular softer to heavier guitar passages against pounding double kick underpinning allows the dual clean/growl vocals to build momentum for this amazing semi-djent/swinging metal payoff. The simplicity in specific chord progressions gives more impact in the smaller details – be it the swirling keyboards or blasting, bombastic measures during “Parts of Anything” or Gojira meets Evergrey chugging next to alluring 80’s pop melodies plus softer, tranquil musical twist that make personal favorite “Trailblazers” a back half track list standout. Main guitarist Markus Hentunen also adds a saxophone touch beyond his mesmerizing clean vocals, his positioning similar to Voyager or even the work of 80’s artists like Tears for Fears, while bassist Eero Maijala is no slouch at the death growls to put “Endgame” in that Scar Symmetry / Swallow the Sun scale of approval. This is an alternative form of progressive metal from cut to cut that impresses because of its contrasts, innovative attention to musicianship, yet never taking for granted the need for aural hooks – fleshing out the details with choirs and female vocals when needed.
Edge of Haze will garner adequate appeal from most progressive audiences – and with the right marketing push, can move into alternative/modern followings as well. The Convoy of Ruin contains an adequate array of fascinating songs that keep listeners engaged, uncovering new details through successive passes, cementing themselves into one of those acts you just need to hear again and again.