Founded in Finland in 2007, Strong Addiction has come a long way with their modern approach on heavy metal. In 2013 they won a band contest at Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki and gained the attention of many influencial names in the industry. Eventually they released this album on their own, until Inverse records decided these people needed bigger exposure. Inverse records, who has already brought us a lot of fascinating albums, has an eye for originality and quality. By signing Strong Addiction, they have one more to be proud of.
Anesthesia balances on the line between rock and metal, often crossing towards the heavier side of things with outstanding guitar play, great melodies and walls of sound. The result is an epic piece of progressive music, made for the stage. In some way, I can imagine that the band wrote this music in function of their stage performance. The 'live'-feel is extremely present. This is notabe in the sound of the drums but mainly in the powerful and emotional vocals. In songs like 'Sense and Sensibility' the vocals invite the listener to a sing-alog session. I'm sure this will work perfectly well on stage.
'Empire of Lies' is my favorite track on the album, reminding me of a gutsy blend of Queensrÿche and Pain Of Salvation. On other occasions, as in 'Horns' we're pretty close to something between Deftones and Evergrey. That being said, the songs are pretty much all in a similar down-tempo style, characteristic for progressive metal like this. That aspect usually is the exact one that makes a band like this a bit 'boring' for the younger generation of festival goers. Yet, while the kiddies eat their hamburgers and pizza, the grown-ups will definitely enjoy this outstanding band.
Something that strikes me in several songs, but mostly in title track 'Anesthesia' is the apparent presence of post-rock influences. I mean, if it weren't for the vocals, some of these songs could have been creations by Monkey3 or Maybeshewill, which is pretty awesome. Another genre that seems to be present is metalcore or post-metal, especially in the occasional use of harsh, screaming vocals. All these different influences make the album well-varied and extremely enjoyable. With this album, Strong Addiction prove that they're excellent songwriters and splendid musicians with a great eye for details. There isn't any dull moment on Anesthesia but at moments you might wonder where this band is heading to. I have a feeling that they still have some room to grow and to find their own distinct niche in the enourmous progressive rock and metal world.