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Infectious, Hooky and...... Un-Important? - 65%

northernlegion, February 14th, 2007

Being your typical narrow minded black metal fanatic, I would normally make a point of avoiding such words as "melodic" with regards to the records I buy. This album could be described as MELODIC death metal. A genre I would usually avoid like the plague since making the mistake of buying an In Flames album years ago and being sickened at how something so downright gay could even be assosciated with death metal. Yet this album has its merits which shouldn't go un-noted.

This music presents me with a great problem as I find it hard to hate, no matter how hard I try. The band seemed to be mixing mediocre (yet fairly convincing) death metal with all the accessible sensibilities of mallcore trash. Whilst this isn't mallcore as the band show just enough musical ability (both lyrical and instrumental) to distance themselves from this label, it is something that will lurk at the back of your mind as you listen to this music.

The vocals are the high point of this album as the frontman has a great power metal-esque voice that helps further distance them from any comparisons to soilwork and their other Swedish peers. He also exhibits a knack for the good ol' guttural death metal growl which other "melodic death" acts I have been unfortunate enough to hear usually choose to leave out. Unfortunately this is both the only outstanding quality on this album and the thing that causes me the most grief.

All the clean vocals no-matter how polished and emotional (In a non-sucky emo' way) seem forced just to make you pay attention to the songs which would otherwise be forgettable. Sure there are decent guitar solos and precise drumming all wrapped in a very polished package but there are very very few memorable riffs and certainly nothing you couldn't hear anywhere else.

Lets make one thing clear, this is not a bad album by any means. There are a few songs worthy of mention such as the Kaleidoscopic God which get the balance between power and death metal I feel the band were trying to achieve. The tradional metal style riffs before the solo in this song are what make all the clean vocals less forced in amongst the growls here.

To sum up, if you prefer straight death metal or power metal then this record is not really worth a purchase as it does neither genre much justice and will do little to impress any fans of either. However if you have heard any of the songs off of this album and you were captivated by the hooky mix of styles (as I was) then you could do much worse than buying this album.

Highlights: The Illusionist, Dreaming 24/7 and The Kaleidoscopic God.