To Paint a Bird of Fire is Perihelion Ship‘s second full-length studio album which showcases more complex riffs and more originality. Another aspect of Perihelion Ship shows they are not just another metal band as well. Many of PH‘s songs enter incredibly melodic acoustic passages and give the listener a break from the huge metal riffs that pound eardrums worldwide. Singer, guitarist and mainman Andreas Hammer screams intense, powerful metal growls and still shows his ability to sing clean, beautiful vocals when needed. Jari-Markus Kohijoki on drums never falls into the metal stereotype of relying on double bass. While he does kick the double bass sixteenth in the climatic moments, he knows how to make a great metal drum feel without it. However, he and bassist Jouko Lehtonen serve as background and an undercurrent for the guitar riffing, which is nearly always the instrumental theme.
As far as the death metal section of the Perihelion Ship formula goes, the riffing is original, powerful, and tight. Often, the bass will follow the guitar riff if it isn’t a chordal riff. Hammer‘s lead parts harmonize and create an extremely evil and dissonant aura about them. The harmonizations are mixed much better and often sit on top of the guitar riff, not heard unless the listener tries to find them. Typically, Perihelion Ship allows the riff to be heard by itself for a few repetitions with the lead guitar soloing before Hammer enters with his powerful metal growling.
The melodic acoustic side of Perihelion Ship is in some ways better than their metal sound. The guitar patterns, again, are the instrumental theme, but the bass often creates a hidden countermelody with the guitar. Lehtonen makes a much better bassist in this style than the metal, holding his own melodies and never succumbing to the guitar lines. Hammer sings beautifully, and if Perihelion Ship produced an album entirely made of these dark, brooding acoustic passages, he would never be expected to be able to scream, let alone scream well. His tone is dark, warm, and round, like the perfect euphonium or tuba sound. The chord progressions are often dissonant and dark. The passages are reminiscent of riding horseback in a dark, quiet night.
Putting all these formulas together creates a full, epic album that sets the stage for something greater. Songs reach past 10 minutes, trading off between these two feels, each song with a new energy and aura about them. Song formats never follow anything typical, and listening for the first time is often mind-blowing because of the unexpected climaxes, transitions, and virtuosity in every second of the album. Huge metal epics like the opening “New Sun” and closing “New Sun?” (yes, you read it right the first time!) are still here. This album put Perihelion Ship in the direction of becoming one of the best newcoming metal bands hailing from Finland, and they show no signs of slowing down.