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A go-train made of tremolo picking. - 84%

Stillborn Machine, March 22nd, 2014

A rare case of melodic extreme metal (black in this case) not just being another bad case of
"Painkiller with harsh vocals", this Texan band offers a take that while not "new", recaptures what made the sound great in a strong debut effort.

The order of the day here comes in the form of tremolo picking and lots of it, contrasted by more accessible palm mutes and lead riffage used to anchor them while breaking up the tension. While it is a solid idea and one that has worked in a variety of other extreme metal styles, here it's not performed quite to the extent it could have been. Most of these rhythms feel a little bit perfunctory, being simplistic power/thrash/trad snippets that when contrasted against their surging tremolo rhythms, feel like they're at times using the equivalent of bubble gum and twigs to try to hold back a flood of raw power. Fortunately, these flowing rapids of melodies in the style of Unanimated, Sacramentum, and of course, Dissection are utterly gorgeous to behold, invoking the most spacious and immense visions of Scandinavian black metal artists. They too are fairly simple and streamlined, but they build off the expectation made by the rhythms fairly well.

The music is unashamedly sentimental and a bit long-winded, but hopefully in the future this can be compensated for with more rhythmic and melodic variety. However, even with these flaws, this is a much stronger take on the genre than the usual "Gothenbourg" tripe and shows great promise. They'll need a bit more work before they're on the same ground as, say, Suhnopfer, but this is a much better than start than most.