without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Frailty by The Duskfall is a solid slab of melodic death metal that picks up right where Gates of Ishtar's third album At Dusk and Forever left off. This is not much of a surprise considering that two former members from Gates of Ishtar play on this album, one of them being the principal songwriter for The Duskfall (Mikael Sandorf). Despite the close similarities in both members and sound ("Agoraphobic" actually borrows its main riff from "Battles to Come" off of the aforementioned Gates of Ishtar album), The Duskfall certainly stands on its own as a top-tier Swedish melodeath band, ditching black metal influences for more traditional ones and "the groove."
On Frailty, The Duskfall plays a particularly groovy variant of melodic death metal that is sleek and modern in sound. However, this does not stop them from wearing their traditional metal/hard rock influences on their sleeves, influences which are evident in their verse-chorus-verse song structures (or some simple variation thereof), sweet harmonized leads, single-note palm-muted guitar riffs over a punk beat, the occasional bluesy embellishments. The songs are, for the most part, up-beat, energetic, and catchy, taking songwriting cues from At the Gates's Slaughter of the Soul and In Flames's Colony as opposed to the more sorrowful releases of the mid-to-late 1990s.
The guitars are full, heavily distorted, and in-your-face, and they often indulge in technically proficient solos that undeniably shred. The bass guitar is actually quite high in the mix, and provides a solid bluesy backbone, something that is uncommon for melodic death metal as a genre. The vocals are your standard mid-range melodeath growl/scream, though they do have a little more oomph. The lyrics, while nothing special, seem to focus on sorrow, despair, and self-reflection, topics that usually are not characteristic of such aggressive and up-tempo music.
The album's strong point is its consistency; it is difficult to pick out a favorite song because they are all similar in both sound and quality. Of course, each song does have its own "thing" that keeps the album from being monotonous, such as the drum solo in "Age of Errors," clean vocals in "Frailty," and some darker atmospheric keyboards in "Deliverance." This also means that the entire album does not necessarily need to be listened to in one sitting; individual songs can be taken and listened to without missing part of a bigger picture or diminished enjoyment. Albums like these can be great because they do not demand much of the listener, which is perfect for just relaxing or jamming out.
However, for those looking for an overall deep or atmospheric listening experience, Frailty is far from an ideal choice. Its songs may seem trite and almost poppy if listened to in that regard, which may not be enjoyable for certain listeners. This may be the only major pitfall of Frailty: it has the superficiality of an album that is fun, catchy, and great to headbang to, but it is not suitable if looking for more serious and contemplative music to enjoy.
As mentioned before, all of the songs are similar in quality and sound, but for a starting point, "The Light," "Agoraphobic," and "Just Follow" will give the potential listener a pretty good idea of what Frailty is all about.
Production is pretty crisp for a debut – the instruments are packing and the energy is juiced. You could tell these are party / concert songs with the amount of invisible-ninja fighting ingredients thrown in. The drumming is fanatic, bass couldn’t be more set aside, and the leadwork is pure Gothenburg worship. Recall that I’m stuck in some shitty traffic, so a lot of engines block out the bass. However, even with the volume blasting from this iPod, there still isn’t any oomph to it. I know the bass exists, I can hear it pretty clearly, but there is no power behind it at all – for shame.
My biggest complaint is the fucking vocals. I’ll give the guy some heart for his effort, but they’re way too pseudo-toughguy growling and border bullshit hardcore, completely undoing the impact of the frantic, zealous riffs. When this guy isn’t singing, it’s like pure bliss with ice cream. Double bass is like firing an M2 .50 cal, while the leads bend doses of typical melodic death, neo-classical (“Agoraphobic”), and American metalcore, so it is truly a mixed bag… or a bag of shit whatever. Another problem I’ve noticed is that while the songs attempt to be melodic, they aren’t catchy whatsoever, which defeats the purpose of being a melodic death / metalcore band in the first place.
What was that!? Twin leads on “Poison The Waters,” not too shabby and probably the most interesting thing I’ve heard thus far. Wait… “None” has a charging rhythm that slays? How did their album go from so dull to being worth a damn!? Oh I see, those were just false rays of hope, as the rest of the songs suck. Even another poorly inspired track, “Farewell Song,” has a fun solo – something these guys are better at writing that the songs themselves.
Oh fuck, monotonous clean vocals and a dry breakdown on the title track; now I can call this metalcore for sure. But alas, the solo briefly saved it from utter stone flinging (and I was ready to sling some rocks!) The last shot at making a decent song is the mid-paced, emotional track “Just Follow.” Somehow it ties influences from Blink 182 and a whole list of pop / alternative bands that I listened to while growing up. It’s still a deep sounding track that has a nostalgic touch to it, so it’s hard to berate.
There, the dirty deed is done (dirt cheap) – this album blows shrimp out of water and makes fish die en mass. Oh, and for those of you who even thought to criticize me on “lack of an effective playing method” (since I reviewed this with a piece of paper and a pen while writing on the steering wheel and listening to this on my iPod)…well, I’m home now and I skimmed the entire album again on my stereo… it still sucks.
The Duskfall - Frailty
The Duskfall is a melodic death metal band. Unfortunately, they're a somewhat typical melodic death metal band, but they have their moments.
The album starts off with an alright opening song, The Light, which is pretty average for a melodic death song. The band members all seem pretty competent about how to play their instruments, and there's not much to complain about. Then we move on to Age Of Errors, and therein lies the problem: it is almost indistinguishable from the first track. Then the next song continues to do the same. Then the next two songs continue to do it.
What I soon discovered was that the first five tracks of this album are up there with Reign In Blood in terms of repetition, so what we are left with is an extremely typical melodic death riff repeated five times over, much to my chagrin.
Based on the first 5 tracks I'd give this album a 5/10 minus a few points for repetition, but then Farewell Song comes on, and introduces a *gasp* new riff. Luckily, the second half is much more varied. Farewell Song isn't a great song, but it's definitely better than the previous five, and has a very nice, melancholy break whenever the chorus comes on.
When the title track comes on, the song brings in some cool clean vocal parts in the chorus. I'd probably say this is the high point of the album. The songs that follow are slightly above average, but are exponentially better than the first half of the album.
The band knows how to play their instruments, I'll give them that. First half of the album is pretty typical, boring, and repetitive, but picks up in the end.
Highlights: Frailty, Farewell Song
7/10, taking off a point for the first half of the album.
Ok, they play At The Gates style with influences from early melodic death metal scene and what’s the fucking matter if they do good music anyway? It’s so hard to find groups like this one that can make a good album without inventing anything new and I don’t consider this a bad thing at all. Something other influences can ruin the sound so they decided to stay old school and I like it.
Watching the line up these guys have a lot of experience in this field because they were members of the great Gates Of Ishtar band and so it’s so difficult we can find a bad product. Here we have the natural continuation of Gates Of Ishtar work, more focused on their last period with more At The Gates sounds and less Dissection ones.
Anyway this album features great songs that can wisely mix more brutal parts with melodic chorus or refrains. An example of this is the opener “The Light” where the fast up tempos are broken by the great refrain with melodic guitars lines. Follow the more mid paced “Age Of Errors” and the speed “Agoraphobic” that features a great melodic job on 1:55 and good solos.
The vocals are always screamed and non melodic at all. Another great song is the sad “None”, full of desperate melodies with the support of some keys sounds. The drum sound is solid and the palm muting by the guitars is always clear cut and precise and for this check out the good, fast “Tune Of Slaughtered Hearts”. The title track features clean vocals too and I must admit their very good and not gaudy at all.
This is how melodic death metal should be played, with its prominent influences but without modernism and electronic-shit sounds. Very good job.
I have to admit that I like Swedish Death Metal. And I have to tell that this debut album is a gem. Black Lotus have released the debut album of The Duskfall and it's very sad that this company became bankrupt. Back to the music now.
This album contains some great songs. "The Light", "Age of Errors" and especially "Frailty" are standout tracks. "Frailty" is the only song that features clean vocals, which is perfectly executed by Lawrence Mackrory, which add intensity to Kai Jaakola's grunts.
This album is played in the way that Melodic Death Metal should be played. The guitars are perfectly executed, the drumming is very solid and along with the bass they transmit you the rhythm.
The vocal lines are clever and Kai Jaakola does a great job. These guys have a talent in songwriting. The album is full of great moments and only one song is not enjoyable. "Tunes of Slaughtered Hearts" is a really bad written song, although it seems to have a good riff, it doesn't seem to lead somewhere.
The actual highlight of this album, though, is the soloing. Magnus Olsson does a fantastic job. His solos are played without distortion, just simple clear overdrive guitar, and give a progressive feeling to the songs. I have to tell that even though the album is purely Melodic Death Metal, the soloing reminds me of the US Power Metal school.
If you are fans of Swedish Death Metal, especially if you like At The Gates, you'll love this album.
I'll admit, I kind of like this album. The drumming's tight (sounds triggered too, can't quite tell though) and pretty fast, the guitarists pull out some melodic and thrashy (albeit repetitive) riffing here and there, and the soloing is quite competent, with standard gothenburg vocals. It's not bad, per se. But in case you haven't figured it out by now, this album didn't leave me overflowing with praise, simply because it sounds like every album I've ever heard by Hatesphere, Enter My Silence, The Everdawn (is that the same Oskar? even the font of the band name matches), or the multitude of other gothenburg bands who don't have very distinctive sounds. If you can't get enough of that Swedish At the Gates/In Flames worship sound, I suppose you'll eat this right up, but I don't predict that I'll be listening to it ever again after about a week or so. Can't fault them for being technically competent and whatnot, but not worth money IMO.