Confusion Field hail from Finland and have released their second album, Future Impact of Past Diversions, which, if nothing else, is a strong contender for “title of the year” in the 2023 Lazland awards.
The band was formed in 2017 by Tomi Kankainen, a clever chap who not only provides lead & backing vocals, bass, keyboards, and guitars, but also did the impressive artwork. He is joined by Petri Honkonen on drums, Markus Jämsen providing guitar solos on four tracks, and Janne Liekkinen backing vocals. Kankainen also wrote all the music and lyrics, except for Tomorrow Started Yesterday which was written in collaboration with Mikko Nurmi.
The album is available at Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/4NdmtkExtPV8biYabZ7vPd and if you fancy physical product, take yourselves along to the band’s website at www.confusionfield.com and I have embedded below a video trailer to give you all a taste of what to expect. There is an overriding theme here, past events having an impact upon mind, health, and attitude years later, as they do with all of us.
So, let’s explore this Scandinavian album. We open with single release, Atom Child which starts with a bang and some interesting electronic effects, which become a sterling feature of the whole album. What is evident are very good mood and tempo changes and this is an interesting futuristic take on an age-old story about a young talent or “superhero” having to fight being isolated as an outsider. Jämsen impresses on guitars, but above all, I really like the keyboards Kankainen overlays this solid start with.
Secondhand Escape is the shortest track on the album talking of desperation and running away from the world seen through the frightened eyes of a child on a track which must surely be a candidate for another single release. The pace never relents with expansive and tuneful synth chords leading the way.
Do Not Engage The Enemy is so personal, with Kankainen reflecting, not with much pleasure, on a challenging upbringing being provoked waiting at the factory’s iron fence. The track is, in fact, almost anthemic in its execution, with some bleak effects above a very impressive bassline, Honkonen ably pushing matters along on the tub-thumping side of proceedings. A thoughtful piece of music which impresses more with each listen.
Phoenix Learns To Fly is a great title and is a track again about escapism, with life deteriorating until the eponymous creature learns to fly away in a breath of new life. Industrial with some very heavy and dark underbelly riffs overlaid by futuristic keyboards and some harsh, but effective, guitar bursts.
To The End of the Hex is another cracking title. Remember when you had the whole wide world just crawling at your feet? Ah, the arrogance of youth, something we all experience, and, indeed, for our race to survive must experience. My take on this is that this feeling should never leave us, and musically I think the band convey that feeling in a more upbeat track than much else here. It certainly brings with it a very fast pace until the final minute slows right down and lyrically and musically goes into full-blown summer’s gone mood.
Defence Solution is an interesting track with more crunching riffs interspersed with effects in a song which could, I think, equally apply to a Game of Thrones northern wall scenario or, closer to home, a barrier such as The Berlin Wall, set up between erstwhile enemies, with the tension and fear of preparing for conflict. Well produced, especially the vocal lead and harmonies, and menacing in its riffs.
Tomorrow Started Yesterday is the second longest track here, a six-minute track and is another piece which intelligently brings to the fore the theme here of past events and actions influencing life attitudes, with tomorrow starting yesterday and the dangers of staying in a comfort zone too long. There is no danger of that musically with some very good expressive keys (especially in the extended instrumental passage at four minutes), sharp and heavy riffs, with a mood which wants to dispel the inner dystopia and manages to do this with the expressive guitar solo which joins the keys to close the piece off.
The Waiting Room is the penultimate track on the album. I really like the piano intro over the bleak synths, and it has some very strong percussive work. There is a fine explosion of noise on the chorus with some impressive guitar work and some of the finest bass riffs I have heard this year.
Factory Shadow is the longest, and final, track on the album, split into three parts, an epic ten-minute-plus piece. Lyrically, this is again a somewhat bleak expose of industrial life, with an element of yearning escapism in the words. The opening segment, The One Who Never Sleeps, is rather heavy electronica fused with power hard rock, but with the chorus of this rather commercial in its execution, and you imagine hands pumping the air at a live performance. The second segment, Lion Park Trail, is extremely reflective, in fact almost psych in its impact on you, but talking of ignoring the cold feeling hanging over our heads perhaps dispelling any romantic notion. The guitar solo here is stunning, a joy to listen to. What If is the final segment and brings matters to an impressive conclusion in four minutes of pulsating heavy rock seeking answers and escapes from the humdrum. The band show their progressive tendencies here and are heavily influenced by later Rush. Extremely good, and as an album centrepiece, very worthy of your attention.
This is a solid album. It will definitely appeal to those of you who enjoy the music of Riverside, Haken, later Rush, and some of Crimson’s more industrial music. It is well played and very well produced, and I hope it brings success to its protagonists.