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I was really hoping they’d drop the metalcore - 35%

MaDTransilvanian, June 10th, 2010

Himsa’s previous album, Hail Horror, was a curious mix between the band’s older metalcore days and the increasing swaths of real melodic death metal that they were incorporating into their sound, most notably with the brilliantly melodic guitar riffs found on that album. One could hope that by this stage they’d have completely shed the inferior metalcore sound for a more complete melodic death metal one, but alas Summon In Thunder follows a pretty similar pattern, but without the spectacular late-album redemption that its predecessor had. Here the genres are a bit more mixed up throughout, with a final result that leaves the listener thoroughly disappointed.

Summon In Thunder begins with a forgettable aggressive metalcore song called Reinventing the Noose. It reinvents absolutely nothing: this is the same, tired old metalcore stereotype of chugging riffs, pseudo-aggressive drumming and constant harsh yelling/growling vocals that just scream wannabe tough guy. To make matters even worse, all this is encased in the genre’s usual kind of obnoxiously loud production values. The primary problem with this album is that this model is never very far away; every song has it to some extent, and the melodic death metal portions are almost always closely accompanied by annoying metalcore parts. The two are fused together in a way which makes the former lose almost all of its genuinely enjoyable aspects due to the excessive presence of the latter.

A few lucky exceptions exist, but they’re few and far between. For example, there’s the band’s main “hit” from the album, Big Timber. Aside from the dumb title, this song seems like your usual metalcore crap for the first couple of minutes. However, around what can best be described as a chorus-like entity, some real, slightly groovy metal riffs emerge, working as actual memorable album highlights. Additionally, they’re followed by complex melodic death metal riffs that champion this song’s cause, rendering it enjoyable despite the metalcore elements. A similar pattern emerges the second half of Given it to the Taking, which has a pretty solid solo. Curseworship is another pretty decently-equipped track in terms of awesome melodic riffs (and a nice, slow solo), and this despite John Pettibone’s increasingly annoying –core vocal style and the parallel metalcore sound running within the song.

However, the listener is eventually forced to realize that, in the end, metalcore almost always wins over melodic death metal here, and the few solid metal moments tend to be buried deep within other, less fun elements. A notable example is Skinwalkers, which begins with a soft melodic guitar part that reminds a bit of mid-era Edguy (great power metal), then proceeds to be a six-minute slow-paced metalcore that’s not quite as bad as the genre’s usual, but pretty damn disappointing nonetheless.

There’s no escaping it, this is almost pure metalcore. Any listener who tries to stick with the actual melodic death metal elements on this album will find himself in a constant state of siege, always on the run from the abundant metalcore elements which run wild everywhere. There are a few borderline tracks which are actually pretty enjoyable, especially when compared to the rest of the album, but one truly has to ask the question: is this really worth it only for that? And I’m afraid that the answer has to be a resounding no. Himsa’s apparent evolution towards a truer metal direction was naught but high hopes and a few good riffs; their future sadly seems destined to be associated with the ugly world of metalcore.