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Described as a doom metal band in the blurb I have received from Napalm Records in accompaniment of "A Dark Burial", Syrach's historical influences and past direction show this to be true, however this third album of theirs is going to have to be classified as somewhat slow, moody and at times groovy death metal not desimilar to Asphyx, Unleashed, Entombed and Grave. Another band today where I'm debuting with their third album, I've been having rather a difficult time to really enjoy my listening to "A Dark Burial".
Let's dig in on a positive note. The aforementioned comparative bands belie a group who have got the 'groove' element of their music, as depicted in opening two tracks "Curse The Souls" and "The River's Rage", quite well nailed in a mid-tempo down-tuned chuggy death metal spirit. The song-craft by the band allows tunes like the title track to travel from a dark lugubrious state to a more uptempo heavy metal flowing feel, an advantage the band realise from the mid-long song lengths deployed across the album. And in songs like "A Mourner's Kiss", the longest at 12 minutes, and "In Darkness I Sigh" the band can clearly pen simple, but effective, riffs helping the band lurch forward mournfully and heavily like a less extreme Bolt Thrower. It is, alas, the latter half of the album where the doom influences start to become more apparent. Yes, like any other doom band Candlemass can be smelled but the growled, quaintly leading guitar near "In Darkness I Sigh"'s conclusion suggests Warning to myself as much as any other doom band I could throw at you.
Of course though all is not rosy. Kenneth "Ripper" Olsen's dry raspy vocals, not unlike Johnny Hedlund of Unleashed, somewhat accompanies well the death-ier moments to be found on "A Dark Burial", but to be brutally honest, it is rather non-descript being the growl of a thousand other frontmen. However, bigger than this is the feel that Syrach don't seem to have either decided upon choosing a predominantly death or doom metal style. Asphyx are widely recognised to be one of the leading lights in this field, and in comparison to the Dutchmen, these Norwegians don't pertain the same vigour and expression in their riffs to push them near the top end of their field. By the time the slowly evolving "Ouroboros" arrives to close the album on it's nth listen, my mind is made that Syrach can do better, as even some hard touring won't garner them recognition of the level to be greeted to some of their like-minded acts on the basis of this record alone.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net