Is it possible to create something with an authentically ancient feeling, even while doing something thoroughly progressive? If we’re talking melodic yet extreme metal, the answer would seem to be “yes”. Cold Insight is a solo-project of Sébastien Pierre from Enshrine and Fractal Gates, and with Further Nowhere he has managed to make something that is as old-school as it is fresh. Combining elements of melodic doom and death metal with goth, post-rock, AOR and what have you, this album could very well have been a mess. That, or it could have felt “progressive” in a negative way, failing to connect to aging reactionaries like myself. Luckily, that is not at all the case.
First it must be said that this is an extremely melodic album, with only the vocals keeping things slightly more extreme as they growl and scream their way throughout the tracks (excellently, I might add). The riffing is often very rock oriented, with tons of well crafted, melancholic melodies and clever solos performed by Jari Lindholm. Christian Netzell’s drumming is also of the catchier variety, mainly sticking to mid-paced beats without foregoing the occasional double kick drum or otherwise more intense section. There are more than a few dreamy synthesizers, epic heavy metal passages and meditative post-rock sequences peppering the impudently catchy tunes. A great deal of originality is to be found – while the wheel can never be reinvented in metal these days, there is no single band that could be compared right away to Cold Insight. The use of almost 80’s sounding synthesizers in tracks like “Sulphur” is at least almost unparalleled in latter day metal, and there are more examples of a kind of anarchic experimentalism.
Despite all these facts, there is a magnificent “retro” demon at work within Further Nowhere, a demon that is somewhat hard to pinpoint. Melodic metal with extreme vocals had a great run in the 90’s, even outside of the pure black and death metal sub-genres. Cold Insight, even while retaining their very own sound, evokes a metric ton of associations to some of the greatest bands and albums of this era. Theatre of Tragedy’s first two masterpieces, Katatonia’s bridge from funeral metal For Funerals to Come, Sentenced’s Amok and their fellow countrymen Cerebrum’s Grief Promo from 1994 – all of these brilliant recordings have echoes here, even while the quantifiable similarities are not even enough to assume any direct influence.
Further Nowhere is a spectacular piece of metal, with vocals as brutal as the rest of the music is subtly beautiful, and a sense of tradition which is as nostalgia inducing as the actual song-writing is innovative. It’s car driving music, reading music and – yes – drinking music. Don’t miss out on this one. It is available for download or physical digipak CD purchase for very humane prices from the label, Naturmacht.