Released: 2007, Unruly Sounds
If I told you that Laethora belched forth from Sweden in 2005, you might be tempted to believe they were yet another melodic death metal group. If I further told you that the band was a side project of Dark Tranquillity’s Niklas Sundin, along with members of The Provenance (a gothic metal group), you might still believe Laethora was a melodic death metal group, amended to possibly include melodic “clean” vocals. However, one quick listen to the opening “Parasite” will crush those notions where they stand, and, grind them to dust before you can even blink. No, Laethora is, somewhat surprisingly given the above pedigree, something else – crushing death metal, refreshingly melody-free.
From the first note of “Parasite” to the final, haunting strains of “Facing Earth”, MARCH OF THE PARASITE rumbles forward and devastates all comers with a vicious assault that hasn’t been heard out of Gothenburg since before the At the Gates worship reached epic proportions. So yes, Sundin & co. ably prove that they are capable of stepping outside their day jobs, but this is more than senseless “blasting for the sake of blasting” death metal. Yes, there are some truly brutal songs here, but there is more within the confines of this album than that. For one thing, there is a distinct doom-ridden element to the music that, while not reaching funeral doom dirge status, definitely rivals the death-doom troops lead by Swallow the Sun (ex: “Imposters”). There’s also a horror-movie soundtrack feel to some of the songs – seriously, “The Scum of Us All” creeps the living shit out of me, what with the grinding death riffs matched against sinister keyboard effects.
Then of course there’s the grand finale, “Facing Earth” – doom/death taken to its depressing, malevolent end. By the end of the song’s fade you’ll either be revolted at the pitiful create known as man, or you’ll be cowering under the bed at the sheer fury the band just displayed.
Needless to say, MARCH OF THE PARASITE is a welcome surprise, as I had expected very little of the album. Hopefully the band makes more time for Laethora in the future because this is an excellent first step.