Released: 2002, Metal Blade
Reviewer: The Punishment Due
This is the band’s first album release under Metal Blade Records, and their third to date. Their last album GRACEFUL…YET FORBIDDING was an amazing showcase that got the band their recognition. This release shows great change in style. The band have moved away from the typical melodic death metal style and are closer to thrash metal.
The music in general is fast paced and the riffing is very clean and tight. Though, a lot of songs follow the same kind of path, going from fast riffing in a verse, slowing it down as a bridge, then a calm, slow melodic passage. Nice clean, melodic leads accompany the rhythm a lot. The soloing is really beautiful and epic too, but the band seem less as adventurous as they did on the previous releases, with solos not seeming to last as long or vary as much. The CD gets a bit tedious after a while, as many of the songs sound very similar. One beautiful mellow song that stands out though is “Bleeding.”
I was quite impressed by the drumming. It was very solid and powerful, often taking prominence over the guitar work. The blasts of double bass are very intense and flowed brilliantly with the speed and mood of the riffing. It wasn’t the most technical display of drumming I’ve ever heard, but appropriate none the less.
Patrick Savelkoul’s great vocal range shines once again. He performs all the high shrieks and low guttural growls, sometimes mixing both into something that resembles hardcore vocals. The high shriek features most though, as like the music, it’s more powerful, aggressive and easier to deliver in quick bursts. His voice isn’t very decipherable though. I can very rarely make out anything he says. Another vocal technique he uses is light whispering during slow, soothing passages of melodic lead play or acoustic parts. Although not very clear, it’s very cool and effective.
Overall – a good album on it’s own, but not the ideal follow-up to GRACEFUL…YET FORBIDDING. This album is indeed a fine display of technical, thrashy metal, but just doesn’t have the variety or complexity of it’s predecessor – the songs are too straight forward and formulaic. Mind you, the production is very good, and there are two very good cover songs at the end, including a great rendition of Death’s “Pull The Plug” – a song that has been on the band’s live set-list for years. Good effort, but hopefully the band will take more time out to let the style of the new guitarist, Remy Dieteren gel in, and produce something greater next time.