Final Days Society are an indie prog-rock outfit who first emerged from the Swedish town of Växjö in 2006. Members Suwat Khanh, Andreas Jeansson, Pierre Olsson, Marcus Knutsson and Anton Grundberg were certainly no strangers to the scene beforehand, having each previously played in bands of their own. They began their current collaboration by performing together across Scandinavia, ahead of two European tours alongside acts from both sides of the Atlantic.

Now the quintet are busy promoting their recently released third album, Icebreaker, which features six songs altogether. This may not sound like a lot, but considering the fact that three of the tracks take up a half an hour between them, it ends up being sufficiently substantial.

Fading in very gradually via “Drowner”, it establishes an ethereal ambience that’s surprisingly stirring, despite being almost silent for the first minute and a half. At this point distant vocals begin to echo across the air, giving the whole thing a dreamy feel before it builds to an epic assemblage of otherworldly instrumentation for its grand finale.

“Drifter” begins with another soft and serene introduction ahead of a slow and wistful harmony. It starts off stripped down and simple, yet manages to be deeply affecting. There’s something very celestial about it before it bursts into a plethora of reassuring guitars and percussion. Growing continuously, it ultimately arrives at an immense exhibition of instrumentation that’s incredibly powerful.

The enthusiastic and urgent riff of “Icebreaker” is met by a delighted drum beat afterwards, setting a merry mood. This persists until things tone back at the end of the second minute and distorted vocals proceed to reverberate solemnly through the senses. It eventually builds back up, uplifting and exciting as the tempo continues to rise and abate. The result is an extremely progressive piece which conjures up a lot of emotion.

“Overburdened Companions” follows with a laid-back, lackadaisical opening that saunters slowly towards a relaxing refrain. It remains reserved for the first third of its run-time, then it begins to increase in volume and momentum. The instrumental execution is consistently captivating, making for a moving listening experience.

The ominous riff that succeeds it is sobering ahead of a forceful onslaught of guitars that are unexpectedly heavy during “At Peace, At Last”. They relent later while maintaining a mellow mood, but soon erupt into another assault of ferocious fervour. A poignant harmony adds to the foreboding nature of the proceedings as it paces purposefully forward. It’s an intense offering that thrills as often as it unsettles.

“Debris” arrives next by way of a theatrical build up which keeps things tense on the approach to lamenting lyrics. There’s a strong air of reflection and regret prevalent throughout the sorrowful sound. It all pounds determinedly in the direction of a suitably grandiose climax that ends the album as ambitiously as it began.

Final Days Society’s latest creation is a dramatic and imposing undertaking, the style of which is quite spiritual. Each entry is extravagant and exhilarating, while the colossal scale of the record in its entirety is awesome in the truest sense of the word. This is a mighty musical spectacle that needs to be heard to be appreciated.

Final Days Society: Icebreaker album review

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