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This Might Be A Band To Watch - 80%

metal_bryan, November 21st, 2011

Most of the time when I decide to check out random new bands added to Metal Archives, and they happen to be labelled Melodeath, I end up hearing a poor imitation of old In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, etc. Much to my surprise though, I sometimes run across something special. This band is one of those rare cases.

Absence Of Light's debut EP features a fresh mixture of Egyptian/Middle-Eastern sounding riffs not unlike Nile, but the music itself is not always has brutal or technical as that. Instead, Absence Of Light sticks to a more traditional and melodic approach to death metal. This is not to say there aren't some technical and remarkably progressive sections present in the songs. You can't put together a band like this with so much folk/traditional inspiration without being somewhat progressive. There are also some beautiful moments of moody and atmospheric stuff injected between the heavy riffing at times. The overall musical journey is very much pleasing to the ear, especially if you're a fan of that Middle-Eastern/Egyptian flavor I've already mentioned.

The production is rather good here for the most part. There is competent use of post-production effects in the clean sections to give them more atmosphere and the rest of the guitars are clear and punchy. The bass is also audible in the mix, though sometimes hard to pick out underneath how loud the guitars and the drums are. The kick drum and snare are especially loud, which is good at times and a drawback in others (blasting sections especially). I wouldn't be surprised if everything here was actually a drum machine with excellent samples used, but the band says they used session musicians, so I'll believe them. Whoever did play drums in that case was an absolute beast. Lastly, the vocals are also very prominent in the mix and are more than adequate. You can actually understand what is being said a lot of the time, despite how guttural everything is. That is a humongous task for a death metal vocalist and I commend him for being one of the best I've heard in the deep growl style.

While this EP is rather short at only 15 and a half minutes, you'll find yourself listening to it more than once in a sitting, because the music has enough depth and character to warrant it. You can get it for free from the band's Reverbnation page right now, but they also have the option to buy a physical copy and I believe there are bonus tracks if you do so. Check out the free 5-track version at least, especially if you like Nile, or even Behemoth.