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Although Terrortory formed at the turn of the millennium, it was eleven years before their debut album came to light. Naturally, good things come to those who wait, and 'The Seed Left Behind' benefits from the time and experience the band have put into it. Reveling in the classic Swedish 'Gothenburg' style of melodic death metal, Terrortory fuse this staple with sounds of black metal and Opethian prog for a lively and powerful record.
Although the minimalistic cover art could imply that Terrortory play some sort of arboreal black metal, the band's sound is closer to Dark Tranquility and At The Gates than anything else. Filtered through complex songwriting, the sound of Terrortory is built around riffs, which themselves are built around melodies and groove. Frontman Johan Norstrom (also the head of Discouraged Records) gives a vocal performance also within Gothenburg canon, halfway between a growl and rasp, and more understandable than your average death metaller's grunt. Although this formula will sound familiar to veterans of melodic death metal, Terrortory throw a few curveballs throughout the album that come as big surprises for the listener who isn't expecting something outside the metal palette. Among these, the atmospheric acoustic work of Opeth is evoked frequently, taking a reprieve from the electric fury for something that sounds a little more like the album cover. The biggest sonic surprise of all was to hear a trip-hop passage, complete with synthesized beats and mellowed atmosphere. Sadly, these fresh elements are not evoked enough to give Terrortory an entirely distinctive sound, but it's enough to give 'The Seed Left Behind' that unpredictable edge that so many albums of this style seem to lack.
Especially considering it is a debut album, Terrortory's production is fantastic. The instrumentation is crisp and clear, but retains that 'organic' quality in the mix that give the performances life. Speaking of performances, the band is remarkably tight. At their most intense and heavy, there is an incredible unison between Tommy Nilsson's double-kick and the guitars. On top of his growls, Johan Norstrom also does some purely clean singing whenever it best suits the tone of the music. Although he is a good vocalist for death metal, he really shines with his cleans, which manage to carry alot of weight even when hitting the higher notes.
Of course, where Terrortory and 'The Seed Left Behind' find their greatest weakness is the sense of deja-vu one will get when listening to it. The songwriting is effective and elaborate, but for every surprise heard on the album, there are three things that could have been plucked from the library of Dark Tranquility. Thankfully, Terrortory execute this style incredibly well. 'The Seed Left Behind' is tight, consistent and organic, and leaves no trace of disappointment. Hopefully Terrortory won't wait nearly as long to come back with a second album; it will be exciting to see where the band goes next with their sound.