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Melodic Death That Knocks On The Gates - 78%

Skarnek, January 11th, 2013

I just received this from a friend as a gift, and was very happy with what I heard from the moment I put it on. Ultimately, when I was jammin' the living hell out of it, I was not bound to the feeling of high expectation that would dictate much disappointment if it wasn't up to snuff. But when approaching the prospect of reviewing it, I forced myself to be objective. Having made this decision, I will treat it as if I went to the local record shop and bought it myself.

Luckily, I still enjoy it. I am a longtime fan of melodic death metal, despite giving it up for a little while as I grew sicker in the metal-obsessed noggin (longing for darker pastures), and have a lot of experience playing it in bands. I can do well to say that these guys play a good game, if not a bit too fair of times. Furious "Lomardo Beat" interweaves with a nice, adequate blast-beat, leading way to a very old-fashioned, non-radio-core breakdown of rhythms, with double-bass rolling nicely. Dual guitar harmonies sweeten, but don't ruin the aggressive recipe, and vocals tend to be in the throaty, mid/high range of a lot of Gothenburg standards of the genre. The fair game that I think they stick to a bit too safely comes in only a few areas.

Songwriting here is almost paint-it-by-numbers, thrashy, melodic death metal, to the point of predictability. This is not necessarily a bad thing; as familiarity breeds infectiousness, and gives us that comfortable "I've heard this type of thing before!" kind of feeling that we so love about classic metal (see Iron Maiden). However, giving in to the trend of shouting vocals (not gang, mind you) interspaced between the pure and integral growls and screams just hinders the appeal. The bulk of extreme music fans that I foresee getting their kicks from this release are Dark Tranquillity/In Flames (in their 90s incarnation) fans, and really wouldn't find an itch in their pants for a Jamie Jasta guest slot. And the bulk of mainstream metalcore devotees will find too much real-deal metal going on here to keep their interest.

Don't get me wrong; harsh shouting has it's place in metal, but in a day and age when dual axes and saccharine melodies over heavy drums are wrongly synonymous with hardcore (how did this happen?!), a band sporting a golden-era In Flames cover as a bonus track should stay integral, keeping their influences more obvious. It's a case where being derivative would actually set them apart.

Now, the cutting and infectious Gothenburg influence does outweigh the flaws. And to be honest, I really can't wait to hear a proper full-length from these talented musicians. There's some truly creative instrumental interplay scattered amongst the average song structures. Given there were more of that, and less safety net...we'd truly have something special on our hands. Nonetheless, there is a fine EP in my possession, and can see myself spinning it more than less.