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After 12 years after their formation and a string of demo releases, Germany’s Declamatory this year finally releases their debut full length album, Human Remains. With such a long history, and the fact that German metal bands have rarely disappointed me, I certainly held high hopes for this debut release of the band, especially with the long, 8 year gap between the band’s last demo release and this full length release.
Rather uncharacteristic of German bands that I have encountered thus far, Declamatory‘s style of music is highly influenced by the Gothenburg style of melodic death metal, not unlike the mid-era output of bands like Soilwork and In Flames, before they turned to their present style of “modern metal”. While this isn’t exactly a style that I particularly fancy, the music is pretty bearable until the vocals come in, bringing in a rather -core-ish edge, especially with the vocal patterns that are in the music, alternating between clean vocals and growls. The clean (and somewhat whiny), high-pitched vocals of Robert, at times even causes the band to sound like some emo band like on the chorus of It’s All Over. Honestly, while the growls are decent, the clean vocals can get rather irritating, like on the starting moments of It’s All Over, and it leaves one to wonder why clean vocals are so highly prominent as the album progresses as these are some of the weakest links in Declamatory‘s music.
The music is honestly not all that bad at times, and the band’s ability to write decent songs are shown such as in the middle of The Die Off, with the nicely composed guitar solos and the riffs, even bringing in a slight thrash sound into their music. Unfortunately, moments like these are rather few and are marred by the mostly mediocre music, and the metalcore moments that are aplently on the album. Often, what starts off as a promising song soon gets marred by the breakdowns that are so commonplace on the album. For example, Law of the Gun starts off nicely and is some of the more aggressive work on the album, with the nice fusion between heavy thrash and melodic death metal, along with some of the most impressive works of drummer Eric and riff and lead guitar works of guitarist Toni, but soon goes into metalcore territory with the whiny clean vocals and the breakdowns.
So while Human Remains undoubtedly contain some good moments here and there, overall the album ends up sounding like any other melodic death metal-influenced metalcore record that is so readily available nowadays.