without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Sale at the metalcore surplus store again it seems, although this album sees the band toning down the hardcore elements of the debut a bit, logically resulting in more of a straight Gothenburg/melodeath sound (metalcore = melodeath + hardcore as a general rule of thumb, for those uninformed). Slaughter of the Soul influences reign supreme even more here than on the debut, At the Gates' swansong still being the closest point of reference for the majority of the disc (though there are other elements as well). Somewhat thrasy yet melodic riffage and screamed vocals (here, growling also shows up in places) over fast, Slayer-esque drumming, you know the drill. Nothing remotely original about this stuff, but as with The Rising Tide of Oblivion, few of its contemporaries get the job done as well as these guys.
To further compare it to the debut, one senses a greater level of ambition behind this; the songs are longer and more varied, simplistic breakdowns are scarcer and the lead guitar work is more epic, dramatic and frequent. The much-changed production works in this general direction as well and does a lot to change the tone of the music; whereas Rising Tide had somewhat of an urban teutonic thrash feel going for it, this album comes across as a great deal grander, fuller and more epic. Behind the knobs this time is Jacob Hansen, and his treatment is as ultra-sleek, ultra-modern and ultra-layered as usual - excellent, but in a very different way from the first album. Moreover, straight-up death metal sections appear more here than on the debut, and are often more technical as well. They're still not an integral part of Neaera's sound, but certainly a notable addition.
The added songwriting elements (longer and more involved songs, increased presence of lead guitar and DM sections, mainly) shows a willingness to evolve and push the envelope, which is admirable, but much of the time they unfortunately work against the band and also do little to change the fundamental design of the music enough to really make their sound stand out in the gigantic sea of similar melodeath/metalcore acts. The band's comfort zone is still clearly one of thrash-tinged generic melodeath riffs (interchangable as they may be, again not unlike the fast parts of ATG's 1995 full-length) alternating with simple breakdowns/slower chuggy bits. No complaint there, it's just what Neaera do best, and once again deliver with more passion, conviction and sheer competence than nearly everyone in business. For instance, the one-two punch that opens the album is pure brilliance and get some serious headbanging started, possibly outmatching anything on the debut. "Mechanisms of Standstill" brings Testament's "D.N.R." to mind as far as "steamroller doing 140 inside mall" crush and maim goes, while the more melodic but otherwise similar title track is SO stereotypically Gothencore almost to the point of unintentional (?) parody - you gotta hear it to believe it, just check out those little oh-so-cherished "Maiden harmonies" they throw in to vary up the main riff and that big, dumb and TOTALLY shoehorned-in breakdown that throws every little trace of subtlety there is to speak of right out the window. But fuck if it doesn't kick ass anyway.
As was the case on the debut, vocalist Benny Hilleke's high-pitched screaming is absolutely first-rate and truly works wonders for the band. On here, his delivery is less hardcore and more "extreme metal" and Tomas Lindberg-esque than on Oblivion, but he excels just as much at his game here and injects oomph aplenty into the songs. Again, no cleans to be found; just face ripping, rabid aggression all the way. Only complaint are the death growls that pop up from time to time, being rather flat and passionless, but fortunately they don't drag the music down in any major way. At any rate, he's by far one of Neaera's main assets and certainly their most important individual member, right up there with KsE's Jesse Leach when talking the best vocalists in metalcore.
In conclusion, while it stumbles a bit here and there, the good stuff makes Let the Tempest Come well worth checking out for believers in melodeath/metalcore. It's not as consistent as the debut, but still comes with a shit ton of catchy headbanging fun to be had. It's the epitome of "generic, but well done"; when the album's on, it's refined and well-executed enough to push the boundaries for how good it can possibly get with such a narrow, meat-and-potatoes base. Final verdict: solid follow-up, but check out the debut first.
After coming out of their successful debut 'The Rising Tide Of Oblivion," Neaera has put out another decent record called "Let The Tempest Come." Despite being named after a whore, Neaera really pours a tremendous amount of brutality and melody into their music. "Let The Tempest Come" is a prime example of what Neaera is all about.
"Mechanisms Of Standstill" begins with a thrash riff that soon breaks into Benjamin Hilleke's shrieks and a storm of blast beats. The riffing moves into a more melodic yet technical sound, while Hilleke is mixing up his vocal show with screams and death growls. The only real bummer on this song is the solo which is short and bland, but beside that, "Mechanisms Of Standstill" still delivers a power punch.
"Let The Tempest Come" is also a solid track. The riffing is once again complex, and Hilleke's vocals are loud and powerful. Everything is going fine and it simply dies with a breakdown. As soon as that abomination is over, the riffing picks up again into the mix of brutality and melody. The solo hear is more technical and faster then on the previous track, which is always a plus. Beside the breakdown, "Let The Tempest Come" is still crushing and brutal.
"Plagueheritage" is no let down from the mayhem. Hilleke's vocals are once again a powerful force of screams and growls, which are filled with a massive amount of energy and power. Sebastian Heldt comes off great as he rapidly nails his snare. His double bass action is lightning fast as well. The riffing is turbo fast and heavy, but still there remains a sense of power and melody.
When "God Forsaken Soil" starts it begins to sink in that this sound is getting really old. The riffing sounds almost identical with "Plagueheritage" and its certainly nothing new from the rest of the album. Hilleke's seems to be the only one pulling his weight as he switches between screams and growls at an inhuman rate. Thankfully, Kevin Otto and Jacob Bredahl add some damn good guests vocals. They both sound almost identical to Obituary front man John Tardy, which is interesting and really saves this song from being a complete disaster.
Finally, we have something different. "Heavenhell" is an atmospheric hybrid ballad that really is one of the standouts here. The depressing guitar tune dulls the senses until the rest of the band explodes into a mid paced riff. The riffing also sounds very different from all the other past songs, but is still fast and melodic. Hilleke's shrieks and growls are very loud and impressive, which is really no surprise. The leads here are great as guitarists Tobias Buck and Stefan Keller complement each other perfectly with great dueling riffs and solos. An outstanding track.
"Desecrators" is up next, and its just as good as "Heavenhell." "Desecrators" starts off with a solo, which isn't bad by any means. The riffing here is more thrash influenced that anything, which really makes the song exciting. Neaera also experiments with some hardcore influences, which really fit in here. Heldt's drumming is crazy and twisted as he bashes his drum set while double bassing extremely fast.
"The Crimson Void" opens with a bizarre drum intro that moves into the even crazier melodic riffing. The musicianship is overall very well done. The riffing is technical and diverse, the drumming is insane and the vocal work is perfect. Another great song.
We begin to run into trouble once again here as the recycled riffing comes back into play. "I Love The World" is filled with riffing that is almost the same as other songs on the album. The vocal work is also having many similar moments. "I Love The World" can simply be classified as one simple work: filler.
"Paradigm Lost" is thankfully a step away from the previous filler. Its clear the riffing is not as melodic as before and the riffs have moved into a more death metal direction. The vocal work is also packed in with many more death growls then the other songs. The leads hear are much more technical then on the other songs. "Paradigm Lost" is really a taking the album in a better direction then before. If only the rest of the album could sound like this!
And when everything seems fine, we have something like this. "Life Damages The Living" is two minutes of the same boring riff repeating again and again. There is a solo, but it doesn't do much here. Way too repetitive and way too boring.
To close the album, we have the epic "Scars Of Grey." Hilleke shakes up the madness with his soaring screams and his deathly growls as Buck and Kellar add riffs that just as brutal as they are melodic. The drumming is also amazing as Heldt gives off sonic speed blast beats mixed with his swift double bassing. Very solid and very heavy.
I was really surprised by this album. "Let The Tempest Come" is damn good record. Despite having some dull moments and that annoying filler, this record is not bad by any means. "Let The Tempest Come" is forceful, well done and exciting.
This review was orginally written for: www.Thrashpit.com
After releasing their debut just last spring, Neaera have already followed up with a second album that easily surpasses anything done on the first. Most bands take four or five releases to show progression of skill like this, but Neaera has done it in only two.
To be honest, on paper, Let the Tempest Come's description would fit a plethora of other bands, and although it's not very original in genre, it makes up for it with its endless collection of stellar riffs, leads and force. This is some seriously poweful stuff. Tons of dramatic leads, crushing riff sections and excellent drumming. The addition of a unique vocalist with loads of charisma also helps place this high above its competition. This is very heavy melodic death metal that manages to have a face in a sea of bands who sound identical.
At 11 tracks, there's not one ounce of filler on this. Everything is just crushing and memorable. What makes Neaera a special band, is that they craft songs wonderfully. Every song has at least one really catchy section or break that seperates it from the others and makes you want to listen to the album as a whole, as opposed to one or two songs, which is really important for an album to be considered 'great'. The heavy parts are brutal and make you want to destroy things, while the melodic bits are emotional and make you want to reflect. Which is another reason why this album is so amazing, it fits multiple moods.
In conclusion, Neaera's 2nd album embodies everything I enjoy in "metal". It has it all, blast beats, growls, screams, crushing riffs, a wonderful sense of melody and very thoughful lyrics. A very underlooked band that needs reconition ASAP.
Recommended listening: Let the Tempest Come, HeavenHell, Paradigm Lost