Released: 2007, Remedy Records
German melodic death metallers Burden Of Grief have returned with their fourth album, DEATH END ROAD, and while it's not about to win them too many new fans, it'll do nothing to turn the old ones away. Founded in 1994, BoG released their first full-length, HAUNTING REQUIEMS, in 2000 and have been gradually and consistently improving on every subsequent release, though not in the leaps and bounds necessary to put them out ahead of the pack they run amidst.
The band plays Gothenburg-style melodic death, and they play it well. For some reason on this release they remind me a bit of Desultory's INTO ETERNITY album, though of course plenty of comparisons can be drawn to At The Gates, early In Flames, and Dark Tranquility. Unfortunately, most of those comparisons wind up being "Well, they kinda sound like these guys or those guys...but not quite as good." Not to say anything's really seriously wrong with the album. The playing is technically skillful and laden with plenty of solid riffs, melodic hooks, and effective melancholic guitar leads. Mike Huhmann's vocals are appropriately raw...if generic...for the style, the production is first-class, and the songs are well-crafted and well-performed.
There's plenty of enjoyable material for fans of the Gothenburg style. "Vita Reducta," for example, has some killer riffs, emotive guitar leads, and tortured vocals that almost push it over the edge into classic territory, album closer "Road Of Visions" shows a slightly more progressive, experimental style that makes it an easy album favorite, and everything in between is certainly good material - but no particular track stands out as anything worthy of making the album a masterpiece.
For some reason, it really seems to me like the band is holding back just a bit...hanging on the edge of the precipice of something better, inching closer and closer to the cliff with each successive album but not able to work themselves up to jumping just yet. Maybe if they continue their trend of improving with each album, the next one will be a must-have. As it stands, this is a solid, enjoyable melodic death release, and if you haven't already overdosed on the latest Dark Tranquility and are a fan of the Gothenburg style, you may want to check this one out.