Seemingly out of nowhere, today we have one of the best Melodic Death Metal releases we have heard in the past few years with Lahmia’s “Into the Abyss”. For a debut full-length release, this riff-tastic album is very well crafted with excellent melodic passages and very aggressive sections. With the typical comparisons to Swedish Melodic Death Metal giants Dark Tranquility, the band also fuses some of Belgium’s Thurisaz elements into to their music to create a superb album.
Opening with “Drag Me to Hell”, the band delivers intense Thrash riffing that nicely morphs into more traditional Melodic DM as the song progresses. The Dark Tranquility worship is clearly evident with the section around the 4:30 mark where they sound like DT’s opus “There In”. The mixture of traditional growls with some harsher Black Metal shrieks nicely reminds us of Thurisaz, but with less emphasis on the atmospheric side of things, as depicted on “Nightfall”.
Melodic Death Metal
Delivering one of the most interesting sounding EP’s we have received in quite a while, today we have Antagonist Zero and their 3-song debut EP “Nighttime Harmony”. Self-labeled as “Catatonic Metal”, the band mixes Doom and Death/Black Metal element in a very effective manner. With an excellent production behind this EP, the three tracks sound like a million bucks, and also left us wanting more from this young and promising band.
Opening with a very slow-paced jazzy intro, “AZ” is the EP’s first track that shows excellent musical skills since the first few minutes. Once the growls kick in, we are immediately sold on the band’s rich and powerful sound. The guitar riffs are excellent and the drumming is pretty well crafted, the melodic nature of the music reminds us of Insomnium, Swallow the Sun, and similar Finish bands.
Making its way to our PO BOX courtesy of Maple Metal Records, today we have Sangre Eterna’s second full-length release “Asphyxia”. In this very interesting release we have a talented Serbian band that plays Melodic Death Metal and features some guest appearances by many Metal stars from Finland. If you like traditional Melodic Death Metal without the fagginess of modern Melodeath releases, “Asphyxia” is the album for you.
For over 11 tracks, Sangre Eterna delivers powerful guitar riffing, very catchy melodic sections accompanied by keyboard arrangements and an overall excellent atmosphere that is rare these days. Opening with “The End of Beauty”, the riff machine starts immediately and you get that unmistakable Swedish Melodic Death Metal vibe with an edge of Finland’s own take of the genre. With no guest appearances on this track, the band gives the listener a taste of their own sound without any ‘distortion’ and we give them great props for that.
It is very interesting to receive albums made in 2010 (for 2010) nowadays and to notice the slight differences in the genres and how they have evolved since then. Today we have Finland’s Medicated and their Melodic Death Metal EP titled “Ways to Make You Fall”. In this four song release we can nicely notice how Melodic Death Metal was highly influenced by bands like Scar Symmetry and older Amoral, but since then it has kind of switched into a more clean vocal harmony driven genre.
In “Ways to Make You Fall”, the band delivers a hefty amount of harsh screams paired with melodic and catchy chorus sections, just exactly like Scar Symmetry and similar bands where doing back then. The band has a very strong core and the guitarists deliver excellent riffs and melodic sections that sound like they come from any ‘big name’ band. The opener “Ways to Make You Fall” delivers a hectic pace with catchy riffing. The super catchy chorus section is very well crafted and immediately has you headbanging to it, thus achieving what any good Melodic DM song has to do.
As a late contender for ‘self-produced’ album of the year 2011, today we have AbsentiA and their monumental “Our Bleeding Sun”. With a sound that easily rivals Dimmu Borgir and other similar bands, this little ‘unknown’ band from Spain makes a huge ruckus with the nine superb tracks featured in this release. Being fans of Melodic (insert_whatever) Metal ourselves, AbsentiA does an excellent job in incorporation melody, aggression and heaps of surprises into their sound.
After opening with the Dimmu Borgir-esque intro “All this Hell”, the band quickly delivers the first high-intensity track with “The end of the Line”. Featuring a healthy mixture of powerful riffs with perfectly timed keyboards and crushing vocals, the band has a very powerful and yet melodic sound, something that is unusual for unsigned bands. With “Inferno” giving a Dissection vibe, the band delivers another powerful track that is nicely adorned by a very effective melodic passage with a nicely crafted solo and enchanting female vocals.
Out of the hundreds of bands that come out of Finland every year it is very hard to differentiate the very good ones from the good ones (apparently there are very few shitty bands in that country!). Human Sculpture is one of the very good ones indeed and with their three song EP “Our World / Torn Down”, they deliver 15 minutes of intense Melodic Death Metal combined with some Thrash and Modern Metal influences.
Sounding a bit like Kalmah combined with Exodus and some Gojira influences; “Deconstruction” delivers hard hitting riffs and very powerful drums. The dual screams approach is very powerful and packs a lot of power, making the songs very aggressive and yet melodic and well crafted. The riffing assault in this song is top notch and the Modern Metal influences are very nicely incorporated into things and do not sound annoying at all.
After making us wait for 10 years since their last full-length release, Night in Gales returns in full force with 13 tracks of excellent Melodic Death Metal with a more melodic and dynamic edge tan before. With their traditional Swedish Melodic Death Metal intact, the band incorporates a few surprises here and there in order to update their sound and kick some as.
Opening with the cello instrumental “Epitaph”, the band nicely sets the mood for their aggressive ‘real’ opener “This Neon Grave”. In this track, the impeccable riffing style of Jens and Frank Basten delivers a very catchy and powerful guitar driven track. The vocals of Bjoern Gooses keep up very nicely with the music providing a multi-faceted approach, including some very effective clean vocals. Behind the melodic nature of “Days of the Mute”, the band delivers some sections that are very similar to Eternal Tears of Sorrow’s passages with clean vocals and melodic guitar sections.
Being huge fans of Melodic Death Metal, we are always excited when a good band finally returns with an impressive release. Cipher System’s last release was back in 2004 with “Central Tunnel 8”, and with “Communicate the Storms” they have returned with a very effective Melodic Death Metal sound that can easily position them among the best in 2011.
Featuring ex-members of Anata and Nightrage, Cipher System delivers 10 tracks of unpretentious Melodic DM in a similar fashion to genre legends: Dark Tranquility. There are almost no fancy elements in this release, just a solid foundation of catchy riffing, atmospheric keyboards, tight drumming and very direct vocals. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, and Cipher system excels at creating a very traditional but effective sound that will appeal to any fan of the genre.
As one of the most expected releases of 2011, today we have Insomnium’s latest release: “One for Sorrow”, a truly sublime piece of work that will be nearly impossible to improve upon. Featuring a mixture of majestic melodic passages, depressive emotions, skillful instrumentation, and powerful vocals, “One for Sorrow” is definitely the finest Insomnium release to date and a near perfect release in terms of Melodic Death Metal.
Opening with the hypnotic momentum builder “Inertia”, the band quickly delivers their signature weeping guitars followed by Niilo Sevänen’s perfect growls. With such a momentum builder, the album starts on a very high note. “Through the Shadows” delivers a more unified riffing structure of pure Insomnium’s trademark sound; this creates the very melodic and dense atmosphere that we all love about the band. Here we are treated to some clean vocals that add an even more dramatic edge to this beautiful song.
As just another female fronted metal band, today we have the Germans from Deadend in Venice, a band that claims to play Melodic Death Metal, but sometimes falls into the Mallcore scene. We can’t really say the music is bad, since the musicians are very good and some of the songs are catchy, but just the whole concept and idea has been done to death that we can probably pick 10 cd’s at random from our promo collection and find at least 4 bands that are the same.
Opening with “Hate Sweet Hate”, we have very traditional (but not bad) riffing and male screams (that are not to our full liking), everything is pretty standard and then the female vocals come. While the female vocals are not bad, they are pretty standard and sound almost exactly like Francine Boucher from Echoes of Eternity, in fact the music of Deadend in Venice sounds a lot like said band minus the progressive elements.