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Worthwhile Stab At 'Heartwork' Worship - 74%

Ragnaviper, February 13th, 2007

My original review of this album was a bit too kind, plus it just needed to be re-written for various reasons. For those curious, I originally gave it a 95. Whatever, let's get on to business. All things considered, this could be seen as the younger sibling of Heartwork or perhaps Stigmata with more of that trademark Danish sound. However, as a follow-up to 1997's excellent Embraced by the Absolute, this could be seen as much more lackluster. Indeed, where that album succeeded in combining heaviness with melody through cold, tempest-like structures, As Night Conquers Day over-polishes this rather charming concept and results in a more streamlined, accessible album that ends up much less rewarding.

Still though, in no way is this release without merit. As Night Conquers Day is competent and highly professional, as well as something of a heavyweight in the genre of melodic death metal. The production is crystal clear and very polished, the music is more than heavy enough for this style, and there is little material that could very well be illness-inducing here. In fact, I find this album vastly preferable to just about all other melodeath for many reasons (possible exceptions might be Eucharist's debut or the previously mentioned Arch Enemy album).

As Night Conquers Day is mostly a mid-paced affair. Don't let the up-tempo first track fool you (a bit disappointing as that's one of the better tracks here). At these mid-paced and higher tempos, the band mostly uses a sort of flurrying riff technique not too dissimilar from most of Heartwork. There is also a tendency to use more groove-based riffs (stop-start and not) when they slow down. For some reason though, this particular technique isn't especially nausea-inducing for me. Still not good, but I don't particularly hate it. Well, at least compared to what Illdisposed was releasing at the time. I imagine that bands '97 release (the two bands shared a label at the time) had some influence on this record. Just as well, some pinch-harmonic laden chug riffs also appear throughout this album on occasion (comes with the territory I guess). Really though, these two issues are the only flaws that come to mind (the vocals could be better though). Most of the songs apply these techniques to one extent or another; the ones that use them less tend to be the better tracks (these being the aforementioned opening track "The Reign Supreme", the rather powerful instrumental "The Present Past" and the bleak and sorrowful outro "The Discovery" – all titles starting with "the" as well for some reason).

What's leftover is a rather strong dose of Heartwork and Stigmata worship. Of course, it offers its own little contributions to the style as well, mostly in the form of some exceptional soloing that often reminds of - surprise! - the Amott brothers. As a result, the solos tend to be the songs highlights, especially in the title track. Take all of that as you will; it is essentially a case of imitation though it is one of the rare instances where the release in question comes quite close to its idol. It's not perfect, but it is worth the listen especially for fans of the style.

(Original review submitted “May 10, 2006”.)