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A familiar refrain, but a catchy one - 70%

dalecooper, June 22nd, 2010

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a new band, with a couple members of a prominent veteran band (in this case Deathchain), doing an old school Stockholm-style death metal album, complete with buzzy Sunlight Studio guitars and...

Yeah, you've heard this story, and you've heard this album. So it really all comes down to whether or not you like this style enough to want to hear it again, and if you like these songs enough to prefer them over the other dozen bands doing this kind of thing in the 2000s. It happens that I really love this style, and the songs here are middle-of-the-pack: nothing earth-shaking, but enjoyable while they're on.

Kind of sounds like I'm damning them with faint praise, doesn't it? I guess I am, but maybe it's recommendation enough to say that I wish I wasn't. I can't help but feel that this album, while plenty listenable, falls a bit short of the mark of Morbider, Bastard Priest, Vanhelgd, and Entrails (for quality songwriting, brash and youthful energy, morbid atmosphere, and amazingly good melodic sections respectively). It's just a bit by the numbers on all fronts, so when it stops playing, not much has stuck to my ribs. Even as I sit and listen to it now to write this review, not much stands out - they nailed the basic Entombed sound (without actually achieving full Entombed-ness... funny how that works), but they haven't brought much else to the table except an exceedingly professional competence. I'd recommend this over, say, Facebreaker or Bloodbath, and maybe neck and neck with Death Breath or Paganizer, but... well, maybe you see my problem.

This retro-Swedish death thing is a flooded market at the moment, and it's getting harder for a band to rise above the tide. Winterwolf isn't quite there yet. Recommended for true enthusiasts of the style; the rest of you could probably take or leave it. I doubt anybody would be unhappy to own this album, but at the same time only people who have burned holes in their multiple copies of "Left Hand Path" are going to want to hear this more than very occasionally.