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Picture it. It’s the mid-nineties in Gothenburg, Sweden. A new style of metal is sweeping the nation …
Oh wait. This is Holy Marsh, a band that caught the trend, as countless other bands did; far, far too late. And aren’t located anywhere near Sweden.
I’ll forgive the band for their asinine name, and poor lyrics, because I understand it’s very difficult to learn English if you speak an Asian language. Because their languages are so far different than English … but, I can’t forgive the generic, trite and weak riffs, and the total mediocrity of the music to be found on this album.
The production on this disc is clear, and neat, but it’s certainly not very heavy. The guitar has a rather weak tone, though the drums sound pretty good. Both are hard to describe just because they’re so in the middle of the road in every aspect.
These vocals annoy me to no end. Weak, monotonous, generic and a little too loud in the mix. Leaning on being new hardcore vocals at times, a touch of raspiness,
Everything about this music is done to death, and as predictable as music comes. Which is to say, it may flow nicely, but you can see exactly where it’s heading because you’ve heard the song a million times. Quite literally in this case, you’ve heard one: you’ve heard ‘em all.
To make the monotony worse, every song keeps the same tempo, and the drummer plays identical beats throughout the entire album. Moderately fast, to mid-paced, nothing more nothing less. No note-worthy break aways, no solos, nothing interesting or unique to start or cap off songs (Save perhaps Cocytus which has a nice dark acoustic passage over the sound of light rain, and managed to hold my interest the entire time. Even though it‘s only 2:20 long)
Before the CD is done filling your ears with cookie-cutter bullshit you thought couldn‘t get any worse, it hits you with Murder in Your Sight, the most blatant At The Gates rip off ever. It starts off with the cocking and shooting of a shotgun (Just as Suicide Nation does) then comes in with a riff I swear is identical to Slaughter of the Soul’s main riff.
Highlights: Cocytus - the only good song on here. And From the Course of Nighttime is listenable.
Low points: Besides the collective shitness, and blandness, Through the Inferno is the certain goth-tinged melo-death that makes me want to vomit, and Murder in Your Sight … and yes, the whole rest of the CD.
To see that this CD got any acclaim makes me wonder about people’s knowledge of metal … this is a worthless album. If you want good melo-death (I.E. that which doesn’t sound identical to ATG and that which IS brutal and heavy check out Garden of Shadows or Kronos)
Ok, if you’re expecting really brutal and raw stuff, turn back right now. Sure, Holymarsh always maintains a good amount of heaviness, but it doesn’t ever get too brutal or noisy. The big reason for that is that it is very melodic, and there are tons of guitar harmonies to always keep you hooked. The vocals are not bad, although a little plain, and far from omnipresent, because this band really puts emphasis on the riffs. Now obviously, you’ll ask yourself: “what about the solos?!” There ARE guitar solos, obviously, but they’re not as great as the riffs and other melodies, but will still make you want more every time. Just as you thought this band was all out heavy, pops out of nowhere a smooth acoustic instrumental, and it’s to the level of all the other songs, only uses beauty instead of heaviness to keep the listener happy. The production is very neat as well.
No More Masquerades:
Right from the start, the catchy and powerful intro will make you fight against your desire to raise the volume and your head will start to go up and down. Hell, there’s even a short solo in the intro, so you’ll always be listening. The verse is not as interesting, but then the chorus is more melodic and original than ever. The main solo is pretty cool in this song as well. A definite masterpiece.
Bottom line : This isn’t really the standard melo-death, so it’s hard to compare. At first I thought of Kalmah, but Holymarsh has no keys, and very few high-pitched leads. Maybe Intestine Baalism would be a good comparison, but trust me, this is way better. Holymarsh should please you no matter what kind of death metal you like.
Holymarsh is one of those underground brutal melo-death bands that gives melo-death a lot of hope, and they're undoubtably the best melo-death band at the moment (along with Intestine Baalism and Kalmah). This band can accomplish something very unique, something very few bands can do, and that is mixing melodic, brutal and death all into one. The only melo-death bands that i've heard do that are probably Holymarsh and Intestine Baalism. Vocals are amazing, not too harsh, not too loud, they aren't left out but they don't shine out either. This album also has the one thing that always (or most of the time) gives an album a +5-10% extra, and that is an acoustic interlude. It's all you need, it's sweet, and it gives you this sorrow feeling. No strings or additional instruments are added in the acoustic song, it's just pure acoustic playing from the heart.
Now as I was talking about earlier, the mix of melodic, brutal and death all into one. I'll take the first song as an example, "Grief of Soulblind". This one starts with a melodic AND brutal riffs, with agressive vocals. An outstanding riff, not jaw-dropping but still amazing. Then about two minutes into the song we get that sweet solo, too bad it's too short. The lead in the end is not nearly as good, but it still keeps the attention of the listener. After listening to this song, I was thinking this was probably the highlight of the album, but the impressive thing is that
most of the other songs on the album are as good as this one, or even better. The whole album tries different ideas, tries different structures, and keeps that brutal brutal melo-death sound. The recipe is simple for this band: Excellent riffs, melodic solos, variety in the riffs and tadaam you have a song by holymarsh, it's that simple. A song I must mention is the last song on the album, "Dissolved Memory", which is an instrumental. The first minute is just pure riffage as usual, but then the vocalist starts talking, and slowly, a melancholic guitar-only
riff comes in. Just as I was thinking this album had absolutely nothing else to offer, we get this melancholic and melodic riff. Packed with emotions, simple as usual, but just breathtaking. This song ends in a fade-out, and I really couldn't think of anything, I was just thinking "WHAT.JUST.HAPPENED."
Anyways, it's that simple. No keyboards of shit like that, no annoying vocals, this album is just about guitar riffs. This album (and band) is the hope for melo-death (along with Intestine Baalism), and this is hopefully just the beginning. A must-have for any melo-death fan. If you think melo-death is dead, you're wrong. Melo-death is alive and well, just listen to this.
This band absolutely will change your mind about the current state of melodic death metal. We have the Soilwork losing their credibility, In Flames losing basically everything...then we have this. This is an absolute SLAB of awesomeness. Simply some of the most riffin', well-written, well-built songs in the genre. No band member slacks off in this outfit, either. Equal parts godly drumming, amazing riffage, groovy speedy bass, and sick harsh-to-deep vocals.
Each song here is perfectly crafted, with godly solos on most tracks. The album even has a few "freebie" instrumentals. An 'Intro' starts things off with a great riff and dual guitar action, leading into a voiceover, and leading into one of the godliest songs ever, 'Grief of Soulblind'. This song starts with the most killer drum rool + riff duo ever conceived. Melody is the name of the game here, and even non-metal fans will tell you this is amazingly harmonic. The drums aren't slacking here, either, with great bass roll+snare hit combos, that deviate from the typical thrashy/melo-death "let's hit the snare 800 times in a row and call it a beat" mentality. Eventually, the song builds into a slower non-pretentious solo. This is one of the most tasteful solos I've ever heard put into a song. Even throughout the solos in the songs, other riffs are played in the background, with great drums at all times. I'm convinced that S. Korea is really underrated in terms of metal, having three amazing bands that can pretty much blow away most other metal in the current world (go listen to Sad Legend and Oathean, too).
Most of the choruses rule, too, because the riffs we're playing here are crazy riffs, very untypical from normal melo-death. Not only because of the brutality, but also of the melody and thickness, and the solos. Get this album at all costs.