If a band comes out with a name that reminds you of a country mainly known for its massive metal exports, two things come to mind: a) they’re from that specific country; or b) they’re paying tribute to the country in some way, whether through their instrumentation or through their songwriting. In Thousand Lakes‘ case, a band hailing from Spain, seems to fall into the second category, but they’re also (very pointedly) bringing loads of that sweet Swedish melodeath into the mix on Evolution.
Evolution is a continuation of an album they released in 2017, Age of Decay, after reforming sometime in 2013. Although the title eludes to the music here being different from all other melodeath out there, when in fact it sounds like something not out of place within the early works of In Flames and Soilwork. There’s a lot of melody and speed, which, if you want to scratch that classic melodeath itch, then Evolution would definitely work. I found myself warming up to it with every listen, tapping my foot along to the beat. It’s catchy, fun, and one of the best ways to spend a 30 minute stretch of time.
I also couldn’t help but equate the vocals here with Omnium Gatherum’s Jukka Pelkonen – they both have that deep growl that makes their music memorable to me. I also thought that In Thousand Lakes was going to play an amalgamation of prominent riffs from Finnish melodeath bands, but they seemed to aim for some originality by playing their own variations of these riffs.
A side note: the main highlight here is their cover of Dokken’s “Breaking the Chains.” I found myself enjoying the cleaner aspects of the music, and it also helped that they provided clean female vocals that were also groovy in sound. Even if the rest of the album is muddled, at least this track is the sum of what the band was trying to accomplish. Even if it is a cover, take that as you will.
All in all, Evolution is a fun time, albeit one that lacks originality, and its highpoint is a cover. Despite this, there might be a glimmer of something the band may use in future albums, and perhaps may help expand their sound into something that incorporates a little more groove since that’s where they’re strongest. After all, we are moving towards a melodeath renaissance, so this can go in one of three ways: In Thousand Lakes can embrace the sound Insomnium has been playing with, they can embrace the trance aesthetics of Blood Stain Child, or they can go some other way that no one is expecting. Whatever way they choose, melodeath is coming around once again and we shall see whether In Thousand Lakes is able to find their footing within this (new) exciting soundscape.