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A mature melodic death metal album showing the world that progression in the melodic death genre was never a problem as long as it was executed properly. This is that album that In Flames or Soilwork should have released ten years ago when the transition from death metal to a very melodically watered down form of the music was being introduced to ears that were unwilling for change.
The tones and melodies are a throwback to those late 90’s tones found from same said bands. The blending acoustics once and awhile substituting the bright leads backed up by a powerful rhythm tone that shakes the very earth around you is not out of place. Where the clean tones, acoustics and leads come in to play is the drive of the emotional roller coaster we are suppose to be experiencing not only in the sense of aggression which is quite common in this genre but in Infinite Mind after Jukka intensely gargles out the lyrics we are given a two minute instrumental outro where our ears are treated to a passionate lead solo doubled with a piano melody that gives us that sense of overwhelming emotion that Omnium Gatherum has been offering us since their debut Spirits and August Light.
And in tune with a great melodic death metal release we are given the instrumental Watcher of the Skies. Though it may not be the most technical instrumental ever it has that same sense of personality and passion for the music as for-say a Steve Vai instrumental.
Two types of progression are found on this album. A band progressing from their amateur sounds of their debut release and an entire sub-genre of music that lost way somewhere down the road while trying to make the transition from instrument-heavy melodic death to introducing more vocal melodies. The previous album hit us with chorus after chorus of melodic clean vocals and with Jukka’s incredibly strong voice it never took on that whiny approach of new In Flames, the radio friendly melodies of Soilwork or the weak attempts in metalcore which always left me wondering why the band would get such an amateur vocalist. That where New World Shadows shines as the perfect blend of everything melodic death metal was and currently is is that the vocal melodies are not present in every song but where they are present it is so strong that it is instantly memorable for not just the actual melody but just how wickedly powerful Jukka’s voice is. I speak of the last half of the title track and it’s melody that would get even the most hateful towards melodic death metal person in the world hooked.
A nagging moment here. The opener Everfields is a nine minute epic of boring proportions. I have found myself skipping this track with every listen and beginning with Ego. To me this is a much better opening song as it just kicks it into high gear right away. No bullshit.
If melodic death metal took on a form like this ten years ago we would be treated now with dozens high quality albums and maybe an entire sub genre that wouldn’t even exist. Those reflecting back on what happened over the years need to look at this album and take influence. A prime example of where we could be. Too bad it only took ten years to get this album made a bring light back on a genre much in need of help.