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Review: Rapture - Futile

Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2001
Originally released in: 1999
Duration: 46:51
Tracks: 8
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


Review online: November 21, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.58/5 (71.67%) (12 Votes)

Rapture were a Melodic Death Metal band from Finland that gradually gained traction in the underground to the point where they signed on to Century Media for their third album before vanishing off the face of the earth. This was their debut album, originally released on Spinefarm Records before gaining wider distribution through Relapse, and while it's far from perfect, you'd be hard pressed to find a lot out there that sounds like it.

I see this band get compared to Katatonia a lot, specifically to their album Brave Murder Day, but I find that unfair since Rapture can actually make compelling music. They work in a similar vein of morose, doomy Melodeath, but rather than mope around and accomplish nothing meaningful like Katatonia have for their entire career, Rapture bring that trademark Finnish sound to the proceedings to create soaring, sometimes breathtaking melodies that take equal parts from early In Flames and While Heaven Wept, though not quite as grand as that sounds.

This brings me to the biggest problem with this album, which is that it has much better melodies than it does songs. Opener "To Forget" (discounting the pointless instrumental intro) is a perfect example of this, as it has some of the best melodies on the album, but it also repeats them way too much and just sort of switches between them without any real build or tension before just stopping at some point without resolution. I could overlook this for a couple of songs, but this occurs on almost every song, and this lack of cohesive structure means that most of this album kind of blends together without leaving much impression. The only song that actually works like a song is "While the World Sleeps", which proves this band is more than capable of making music that does more than just march out a handful of melodies and hope we don't notice that there's nothing else going on. The rest of the songs that stand out here, such as the title track and "Someone I (Don't) Know", do so not because they're particularly well put together, but because they have excellent melodies that end up going nowhere and have nothing else to show for it besides generic harsh vocals and gloomy lyrics with all the emotional resonance of "Stubbed my toe/Hurt real bad/Now I'm sad".

I know I've spent most of this review ragging on this album, and that's largely because it clearly could have been a fully affecting listen if the band's songwriting matched their melodic sensibilities. As is, this remains a decent listen with some marvelous highs, but that fact makes it all the more frustrating to listen to. A promising debut, but little more.

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