Personnel: Hakim Hietikko (vocals); Eskil L”vstr”m (guitar); Mikko Merilinna, Janne Aulavuori (guitars); Pelle Henricsson (keyboards, percussion); Maarik Leppa (bass instrument); Kimmo Enroth (drums); Pelle Holmstrom (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Eskil L”vstr”m; Pelle Henricsson.
When Linkin Park first started racking up hits, it was noticed that part of the band's evident commercial knack lay in the fusion of then-current nu metal clich‚s with a boy band dynamic and appreciation for sheer bubblegum pop (not that many fans would ever admit to that -- at least, not openly). This doesn't entirely explain what's going on with Finnish group April, it should be noted, but Anthems for the Rejected, the band's second album, in some ways reworks that formula for its own purposes -- aggro despair given poppy as hell hooks, perhaps not so surprising for a group from the land of H.I.M. and Lordi. The core of the album lies in its perfectly accurate title -- they're into massive anthems whenever they get the chance and they make plenty of them throughout, betraying a fascinating love for early-'80s AOR in particular. So when "The Skies Came Alive" really hits a wave-your-lighters part, especially in the buildup to the final chorus, they're doing something right, while when the full-on raspy screaming kicks in towards the end of "Trenched and Buried," it's expected but also downplayed. Calling April a sunny band might seem a bit much but they're out to put a bit of a smile on one's face even with songs titled "Blades of Steel." There's even a quiet number, "The Wait," which takes a slow drama route instead of the power ballad approach, but the catchy chunk of "Homecoming" might even get them a demi-American hit if they play their cards right. ~ Ned Raggett