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FARMAKON

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Finland


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Farmakon picture
Farmakon biography
After hearing Opeth's Still Life album through his friend Toni Salminen, vocalist/bassist Marko Eskola (previously a funk singer with no real prog or metal background) taught himself the growling technique used by Mikael Akerfeldt and even found himself coming up with metal riffs. Deciding to put them to use with a full band, he recruited Salminen as a guitarist, Riku Airisto (from his previous band Planar Gallery) on drums, and Lassi Paunonen as a second guitarist, creating Farmakon in 2001. Days after completing their first demo, the band recieved a contract offer from Elitist Records, with whom they signed in 2002 and released their debut album A Warm Glimpse in 2003.

The band's sound is most evidently influenced by Opeth, utilizing similar juxtopositions of acoustic/clean sections with complex, atmospheric death metal, yet the band's sound is truly set apart by Eskola's past as a funk musician. Strange, almost Mr. Bungle-esque funk sections emerge regularily throughout their compositions, twisting their style in a way that not even Opeth is capable of matching. A very interesting new entry in the prog-metal world.



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Discography:
A Warm Glimpse, studio album (2003)

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FARMAKON discography


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FARMAKON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.45 | 17 ratings
A Warm Glimpse
2003
3.00 | 8 ratings
Robin
2007

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FARMAKON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Robin by FARMAKON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 8 ratings

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Robin
Farmakon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Robin" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Finnish, Tampere based progressive death metal act Farmakon. The album was released through Four Seasons in February 2007. Itīs the successor to "A Warm Glimpse" from 2003 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Riku Airisto has been replaced by Matti Auerkallio. Farmakon formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2010, releasing two demos, one single, and two full-length studio albums in that period.

Right off the bat on opening track "Time-Tables" the strong Opeth influence of "A Warm Glimpse (2003)" is again clearly heard. So this is a continuation of the progressive death metal sound of the predecessor, featuring heavy riffs, intriguing melodic leads and solos, acoustic breaks, and both growling and clean male vocals (and some higher pitched screaming vocals too). Although Farmakon are at times close to being Opeth clones, they do have a lot of ideas of their own. There is an occasional tecnical death/thrash metal edge to their music and also a slight nod towards fusion in the way the drums are played, which the more famous Swedes donīt have in their music. "A Warm Glimpse (2003)" featured some odd musical ideas and sections with elements from funk, blues, and fusion/jazz, but "Robin" is a less eclectic release, and to my ears thatīs a good thing, as many of the quirky musical ideas of the predecessor made it an uneven and in some ways unsatisfying listen. Farmakon have obviously come to the same conclusion and "Robin" is a stylistically consistent release, and when the band do decide to step outside their core sound, the experiments work relatively well (at least better than they did on the debut album).

The quality of the material is also relatively high throughout and "Robin" features a heavy, dark, and well sounding production too. Add to that high level musicianship (the clean vocals have improved greatly since the predecessor and they are fewer here too), and "Robin" is upon conclusion a good quality progressive death metal release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 A Warm Glimpse by FARMAKON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.45 | 17 ratings

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A Warm Glimpse
Farmakon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "A Warm Glimpse" is the debut full-length studio album by Finnish, Tampere based progressive death metal act Farmakon. The album was released through Earache Records in October 2003. Farmakon formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2010, releasing two demos, one single, and two full-length studio albums in that period.

Stylistically the material on "A Warm Glimpse" is progressive death metal featuring heavy riffs, intriguing melodic leads and solos, acoustic breaks, and both growling and clean male vocals. There are occasional journeys into technical death/thrash territory and also the odd fusion/jazz section thrown in. Other than the last two mentioned elements the music on "A Warm Glimpse" sounds a lot like Opeth sounded around the turn of the millenium. Lead vocalist/bassist Marko Eskola has a voice and growling vocal style which is very similar to how Mikael 'kerfeldt sounds, and that doesn't exactly lessen the Opeth comparisons. Eskola's clean vocals aren't up to par though, and while they work on some parts of the album, they are slightly cringe worthy at other times.

The quality of the material is a bit up and down. Sometimes Farmakon produce some really effectful, heavy, and atmospheric progressive death metal, but their experiments with funk, fusion/jazz, blues, and other genres don't always work that well within their overall progressive death metal sound. Sure the listener is kept on his/her toes throughout the duration of the album, and you never really know what's lurking around the corner, but I end up with the feeling that "A Warm Glimpse" would have been a much better album, had Farmakon focused a bit more on a more conscise songwriting and less on odd musical ideas.

"A Warm Glimpse" is a well produced album, and every instrument and vocal part is heard clearly in the mix. I have to give a special mention to the drum sound, which to my ears is quite brillant. That snare drum sound is just killer. Farmakon are a very well playing band too, and in many ways "A Warm Glimpse" is a high quality progressive metal album. The slightly questionable clean vocals and songwriting which sticks in every direction do dampen my excitement over the album some though. A more open minded listener may find the many odd musical experiments more suiting to the music than I do, but ultimately I find the album more interesting from a musicians point on view than an overall great listening experience. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still deserved though.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 A Warm Glimpse by FARMAKON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.45 | 17 ratings

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A Warm Glimpse
Farmakon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I started listening to this CD in the car, and thought to myself that here was yet another Death Metal band. But hang on; although the vocals were pure Death, the guitars seemed to be just a little too clean. So when the vocals and music moved into more melodic rock I wasn't too surprised, although I have to confess that I never expected it to move into laid-back lounge. From there the only musical path to take was straight back hard into the heavy stuff. I knew without looking at the CD that this had to have been released by Elitist as they seem to be capturing the market in this style of progressive rock. Many neo-prog fans would shudder at any attempt to describe this music in that way, but this is music that it attempting to cross boundaries (successfully), so surely this really is progressing in the correct sense of the word instead of being regressive?

Farmakon recorded a three song demo in 2001 and then posted it onto www.mp3.com, and were surprised to be contacted by Lee Barrett of Elitist within a few days offering them a deal. Of course, they then had to go off and write some more songs as they only had the three! This is an album that has a lot to offer, from Death to gentle acoustic pieces, but they are played within the same song.

This is an album that is adventurous and compelling, yet can also be hard to listen to just because the music shifts so abruptly. Definitely not for those who follow the mainstream, this album is a delight, and those who want music that can be extremely heavy but is definitely out of the ordinary should seek this out.

Originally appeared in Feedback #76, Oct 2003

 A Warm Glimpse by FARMAKON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.45 | 17 ratings

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A Warm Glimpse
Farmakon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Metalstrm

3 stars It's interesting that no Opeth fans have done a review of this album yet. Anyway, to tell the truth, my first listen of this album quite put me off. I didn't like the funk sections and some of the guitar playing sounded undefined, the vocals too experimental at times. Well, on second thought, this is progressive music, so a second listen should be worth it. I tried it, and this is what came of it.

1. Loosely of Amoebas: Interesting title, to go with the music here. We are immediately treated to fast guitar riffs with ripping kick drum. The growls are interespersed with strange sounding clean vocals. The funky section section in the middle sounds out of place but it will eventually grow on you. It really gives the music an unprecedented twist. There are quite some experimental sounding bits here. Almost Meshuggah-esque sounding at times. The ending is a cross between Meshuggah (think the solo bit of Future Breed Machine) and Opeth. [7+]

2. My Sanctuary in Solitude: Heavy from the outset, the clean vocals sound quite a bit offtune and amateurish, in contrast with the growls, which are very well done. A semi mellow part with a vintage sounding solo after the intro is quite welcome. A short acoustic break is quite amazing here and very Opeth-like. The heavy riffs are also quite interesting. On the whole however, bar the acoustic breaks, the songwriting is nothing to write home about. The clean vocals are very offputting. [6+]

3. Mist: This sounds like something off My Arms, Your Hearse. There is a very beautiful clean section right after the beginning, which could have been developed more. Unfortunately the changes are quite sudden and non-leading. Many of the riffs lack dynamics. This alone wouldn't have been too detrimental, as long as the music is layered artistically and blends well. Unfortunately this is not the case. [6]

4. Stretching into Me: A beautiful intro. Acoustic guitars and drums provide some great atmosphere, leading very nicely into a second riff that sounds right out of the Opeth universe. Mind you, this doesn't mean I'm saying they are copying stuff, just that the general feel is similar. A heavy riff blasts in after the intro, with growls and screams coming from everywhere. The first few riffs are interesting, but nothing spectacular. A great riff starts at around 4:00, with a cool melody line dubbed over. A quiet section follows, with some more of the amateurish vocals again. The guitar soloing towards the end is quite well done. I found this song to be quite wellcomposed compared to the previous two. [7]

5. Same: Another heavy from the beginning song. I just hate the vocals, damn! Why did they spoil some otherwise good stuff with the vocals? This is quite an experimental song, with some funky (and often funny) parts. Interesting off beat parts and time signatures, but no amazing songwriting again. [6+]

6. Flowgrasp: A very proggish intro, which somehow reminds me of The Moor. A quite atmospheric section follows the first few heavy riffs. The solo is very well done, and the rhythm relaxing and mellow. This blasts into another bleak Opethish riff just before the 4th minute mark. At times the guitar riffs almost remind me of Sikth, though overall they are far off. I hate to say but i find no real sense of continuing melody here. The riffs sound quite disjoint. [5+]

7. Flavoured Numerology: An atmospheric bit leads into another of the Sikth-esque riffs. The clean vocals are deep. The heavy riffs range from the quite bland to the mildly interesting. To be honest, I find the break after the third minute quite interesting. Then comes a mad funky section with the vocalist doing all sorts of crazy noises. Nah... [3]

8. Pearl of My Suffering: Quite a well done intro, marred with the clean vocals. God, autotune would have been useful here. This leads into a heavy riff which almost sounds like it's a good continuation from the intro, but no, you'll eventually notice it's got nothing to do with it. A spacey break in the middle with some relaxed acoustic guitars... and vocals. The outro is quite well harmonized. [6]

9. Wallgarden: By now I'm getting tired of the similar heavy intros, but on its own this would have probably stood out as quite a good intro. Again, the riffs and melodies sound disjoint, with no real theme connecting them all. Some people would probably have no gripe with this, but I think music should be flowing and not unpredictable beyond all expectations. Had the band composed the music to be flowing they could have incorporated the funk sections and experimental parts in one cohesive package, which might very well have sounded enormously great. But well, they didn't. [4+]

And the band also needs to work on the vocals. The growls and screams are good, but the clean vocals simply don't cut it. OVERALL, 5.8

Thanks to Bryan for the artist addition.

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