It’s no secret that Finland is one of the homelands of metal music. Legends from this holy land include NIGHTWISH, AMORPHIS and ENSIFERUM are just some bands on this long list. It’s clear newcomers ULTHIMA will be joining this list of icons and this is from the sounds of their debut album Symphony Of The Night. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on this list already.
The album opens with Black Swan and already you can hear a variety of sounds. The fantasy like symphonic elements and beautiful keyboard melodies wouldn’t be out of place on a NIGHTWISH track, you then get ENSIFERUM-esque growls from Tuomas Antila. The track’s epic melody had me hooked from the word go.
Influences from other bands are clear yet they haven’t completely copied anyone. That’s a hard feat to achieve nowadays and ULTHIMA pull this off. They originally formed in 2010 and established a stable line up in 2018. This debut album is a collection of songs from ten years of the band’s history. All this hard work establishing a stable line up and creating material certainly pays off. Below are just some of the highlights this band have produced.
One of things it states in the press release is that their music is a combination of epic melodies and aggressive riffs and vocal parts. Belegar is one strong example of this alongside the rest of the album. There are some solid solos from the guitars and keyboards, air musicians all around the world will be practicing these. Hats off to guitarists Ricardo Escobar and Jon Welti alongside keyboardist Niko Sutinen.
I am attracted to great melodies and Daughter Of Twilight comes under this category, especially in the chorus. When listening to this, I am reminded of the game The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess and I am not just talking about the word twilight in the title. In the game, Link transforms into a wolf when he is in the Twilight Surrounded areas. The combination of aggressive vocals alongside the fantasy type melody may have something to do with this. I now want to dust off my Nintendo Wii and play the game now.
For the duration of this album, I found myself already feeling eager to experience their live set once we get out of lockdown. Dance With The Shadows is one of the reasons for this. What I like about this track is that one minute, I want to attempt a folk jig. The next minute I can imagine a mosh pit breaking out. I mentioned earlier they show a variety in their songs and this is a solid example.
I wasn’t ready for the album to be over when the title track came around to close things. When listening to this track, you can instantly hear that this track title was more than appropriate. The delicate keyboard melodies made me think of starlight and it was great to hear they keep up with the epic melodies until the end.
When you spend an entire album trying to pin point what a band sounds like, you know the band have struck gold when it comes to originality. ULTHIMA have their own signature sound and it’s clear they will appeal to a variety of metal fans from across the spectrum. This album flew by and it’s one of the strongest debut albums I have heard. It’s a masterpiece all metal heads need to hear.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Symphony Of The Night is out now.
Find ULTHIMA on Facebook.