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As You Drown
Released: 2011, Metal Blade Records
Tagging any band with the word 'core' these days is bound to benefit them about as much as telling their groupies that every member has hepatitis. The days, you see, where a deft blend of deathly metal and its testosterone-addled hardcore counterpart was considered innovative are long gone, replaced instead by a seemingly never-ending catalogue of all-too-polished manufactured drivel where exceptions are overshadowed by the norm at a ratio of at least ten to one.
To their credit Sweden's As You Drown do by turns come within inches of pitching their tents in the former camp. For one thing, the subtle strokes of melody that waft in and out of songs like "Slaves to the Kingdom of Fear" and "Conqueror" are most definitely a cut above what many of their peers dish up; dark, haunting and used just sparingly enough to retain a sense of occasion. Mention should also be made of their drummer, Martin Latvala, whose knack for technical is only matched by an effortless flair for steady, pounding rhythms. Unfortunately the cracks in As You Drown's make-up shows early too, starting with Henrik Blomqvist's monotonous garble. Devoid of emotion or enunciation, it adds nothing of any particular value to a collection of songs that on more than the odd occasion run threadbare of ideas. Well-crafted melodicism aside, the riffing across RAT KING recycle ideas off the likes of Morbid Angel and other stalwarts of the extreme music pantheon so often that it all ends up meshing into a faceless and yet vaguely familiar blur.
There's no doubting that As You Drown have it in them to produce a classy next effort and with a little care and attention to the finer details, RAT KING could well have been a significantly more accomplished record. As it is, you'll be as hard pressed to toss your copy on the scrapheap as you'll be to give it more than a few cursory listens.
2. Slaves To The Kingdom Of Fear
3. You Should Be Paranoid
4. Rabid Wolves In Sheep's Clothing
5. Your Loyal Betrayer
6. The Coming
7. The Nothing
8. Bleeding Structure
9. Cleansing Hands
Robert Karlsson - Bass
Martin Latvala - Drums
Simon Exner - Guitars
Mikael Åkerström - Guitars
Henrik Blomqvist - Vocals
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