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Not Highly Original, But Spirited - 76%

Thamuz, June 5th, 2005

Perhaps one of the most burdensome expectations that befall a band in the underground Metal community is the need for it to "reinvent the wheel" if it is to please the most cynical of listeners. But, in the past more than a handful of bands have achieved varying levels of success by refining the intrinsic elements of already existent paradigms. Of course there have been plenty more that have fallen by the wayside and left no other impression than that of a horrendous clone band. Rather than slot into the dispensable gloom of the latter, the subject of this review, a Swedish band called Centinex, fit comfortably within that of the former.

"Reflections", their third release shows little signs of following the notorious "Gothenburg" stylings of the time, instead working as a proficient Death Metal album.
The album derives the main crux of its compositions from free-flowing tremolo bursts, which cascade in and out of one another to create a clever divergence of ideas in a logical form. Although these riffs are of a basic formula, they are used extremely well to convey a variety of different themes throughout the album. The music is typical of the melodic Swedish Death Metal bands of the earlier years, with the best description pertaining to a less complex and chaotic version of At The Gates. The structures are coherent, precise and compact. Whilst some of the segments are more impactive or hard hitting as was idiosyncratic of earlier the Swedish sound, for the most the band relies on subtle melodies to develop the plot of each song.

The general mood, while retaining some chaos, is more reserved than is typical for Death Metal. There is definitely an air of emotion that is magnified more than is custom, with a wide variety moods from hopeful, sometimes sentimental and reminiscent of the glories and battles of mankind's days gone by, to emitting signs of sadness for the decadent present situation. There are also some slower doomy melodies thrown in at several intervals. The crisp, vibrant and pure Sunlight Studios production serves as an adequate vehicle of expression without stooping to a processed sound. The underlying themes are subtly evolved as the song progresses with the steady flow of a Scandinavian river as it winds through the lush countryside. The songs are memorable, choosing to recognise the preciousness of life and have a glowing charm that doesn't always get radiated by this medium. There are also some brief charismatic pentatonic flourishes featured in the some songs, which don't divert the focus of the songs to utter meaninglessness. Oddly enough, even the “rock” approach of these leads doesn’t seem at all alienated from the themes presented.

Without bringing anything original in terms of technique and composition to the table, Centinex have succeeded in creating an album that is full of life and refreshing in its feel. They have shone light onto a moribund Swedish scene that many purists may have thought to be dead at the time.