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Melodic Death Perfection - 100%

bloodthirstysystem, November 1st, 2008

Everything about this album blows me away every time I listen to it. Tomas Lindberg's tortured screams are some of the best metal vocals ever, nailing the perfect growling scream that is nearly impossible to imitate. The riffing on this album is all over the place and completely phenomenal. There are definitely some traditional "evil" melodic elements in the riffing, but the riffs break all the rules of traditional music and melody.

The riffing on this album is really what sets early ATG apart from every other melodic death metal band ever. They manage to weave melody that is incompatible with classical musical structures but still extremely pleasing to the ear into their music. They also manage to form those melodies in some of the most mournful ways possible. Listening to the guitar riffs alone can inspire a feeling of sorrow.

When one adds Tomas Lindberg's amazing screams to the mournful melodic riffing, the end result is a work of amazing pure evil atmosphere. The guitars and basses are of course down-tuned and heavy as possible throughout. The drums are fairly straightforward, and pretty much exist to offer a backdrop for the two duelling guitars.

The two guitars' working together create great effects on this album. Usually during slower melodic parts (for example, near the end of "Kingdom Gone") one guitar will play a low, heavy riff while the other plays a high harmonic variation on the same riff. The same goes for the main riffs played during the vocals throughout the album. Even if the guitars are playing in the same register, their parts are varied just enough to create amazing harmonies that sound great but can't be explained using traditional theory.

The album is very rhythmic and stays true to its heavy, death metal foundation, but ventures into an atmosphere of total darkness and evil, borrowing some early black metal elements and implementing them into the riffing. The album also features many great clean acoustic and violin breaks which fit perfectly into the overall atmosphere. Every song is unique and amazing in its own way. The album is incomparable to any other melodic death metal release. This is what melodic death metal should sound like.