Released: 2009, Pulverised Records
Séance were one of those bands that never accomplished much on their own, but served as a proving ground for the founding band members who went on to bigger and better things. Patrik Jensen left to form The Haunted while other members played in Satanic Slaughter and Witchery. After an eleven year hiatus, the band has reformed, granted without all the founding members, and released AWAKENING OF THE GODS in 2009. With the band’s pedigree, it should come as no surprise that this album is in the style of old-school Swedish death metal but also manages to straddle the gap between thrash and death metal.
One thing Séance cannot be accused of is lacking a plan or focus. This album is exactly the album the band wanted to make, focusing on speedy riffs and intense tempos topped off with generous portions of accomplished guitar solos. In keeping with the metal bible, the opening track “Wasted” is the scorching hyper-paced track almost all extreme metal bands open with on an album. Unfortunately, the next four tracks sound just like the opener; competently played, technical, but predictable. For death metal purists, track five will either be laughed at as a joke or denigrated eternally as it is a bit of bass solo tomfoolery, a death metal version of “Flight of The Bumblebee”. This type of thing works for Manowar, but not death metal and it reminds me of Dark Angel’s awful cover of “Immigrant Song”. Not until track 7, “Choose Your Eternity”, does the album tempo change and actually groove somewhat, with a KILL ‘EM ALL type of solo thrown in near the beginning. The production is decent, but the drums could have used a bit more punch.
All the ingredients used to create Swedish death metal are present on this album, from the now cliché cookie-monster growls and sinister lyrics, to the unrelenting intensity and fast tempos. Yeah, I would call it formulaic and predictable. AWAKENING OF THE GODS is not a bad album, but in the grand scheme of things there is not much reason for it to exist unless you were a fan of the band back in the day or feel there can never be enough bands like this in the world. This one is recommended for serious fans of harsh death metal only, particularly of a Swedish variety.