Review: Coffeinne – Requiem

With a name that hardly, if at all, is a clue to the type of music one can expect from this band, Coffeinne was a leap into the unknown for me. Luckily the band isn’t exactly secretive about their preferred musical path as it only took me a few seconds of listening to figure it out. Formed in 2015 by Spanish musicians Iñaki Lazcano and David Villarreal, Coffeinne focuses on melodic metal that heavily leans on the power metal genre, but in which a flurry of influences of many more genres of metal can be found. The band has expanded into a classic quartet in which, next to the aforementioned Iñaki, who is the band’s vocalist, and David, who takes care of the guitar work, Miguel Manjón (bass) and Pako Martinez (drums) have also found a place to showcase their musical qualities. They released their first work back in 2016, a full-length called Circle of Time, which is succeeded as of now by a new full-length called Requiem.

Like I mentioned earlier, it only takes a few seconds of listening to album opener Frozen Seas to know what you’re dealing with here: Power metal of the melodic variety, with, I must add, a few subtle trip to other corners of metal such as death metal. Now, power metal has a few characteristics that could very well be considered an acquired taste by many, and Coffeinne’s music is no exception to that. It ticks all the for the specific genre mandatory boxes: catchy melodies, lightly set tight guitar work interspersed with at times howling solos, the typical, exaggerated vocals with their high pitched characteristics, the choral aspects, the fast drum lines augmented by ditto bass lines, it’s all there. So nothing new there you’d say. And that is mostly true, but there’s a few differences that, in my opinion, are an improvement rather than a deterioration.

The most striking difference is the vocal range. The characteristic high-pitched vocals as we know them are more or less absent here. Be it intentional or not, even though Iñaki’s singing style matches that of most power metal vocalists, he never really reaches the high regions where things tend to get awkward. And I personally don’t mind that at all. In my opinion there’s only a few singers who can get away with that, the vast majority cannot. Iñaki might very well be perfectly capable of flawlessly reaching those regions, or he might only break glass trying, I don’t know. What I do know is that, after a few minutes of getting adapted, his voice really grew on me. His sound is rather fragile, but he still manages to add enough power to make sure that is never a problem.

The other difference that struck me is the absence of keyboards. Where other power metal bands sometimes lose themselves in endless, overly complicated, heavily dominating keyboard parts, Coffeinne sticks to the traditional band lineup guitar-bass-drums-vocals. Again an improvement in my opinion. The songs that are to be found on this release are qualitatively so strong and well composed you will never miss the keys. The sound they produce is simply that complete.

So all in all Coffeinne really positively surprised me. Rather than sticking to the traditional power metal they have append a few changes that I feel definitely contribute to the overall feel of their music. After I got used to Iñaki’s vocals this grew into an album I thoroughly enjoyed and that will be on my player for quite some time. There’s much to enjoy, from the typical power metal guitar work in The Showdown to the sweet solo in Forevermore, which in my opinion takes the prize where it comes to best song on the album. Just give it a spin, you’ll like it.

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