Jaded Heart continues to churn them out as GUILTY BY DESIGN is the band’s 12th studio LP. This German/Swedish band has endured multiple lineup changes, but the members from 2014’s FIGHT THE SYSTEM have all returned for the new album. Musically, not much has changed in the band’s approach over the years. GUILTY BY DESIGN is another offering of high quality melodic metal delivered by committed guys that deserve more recognition.
Not surprisingly, GUILTY BY DESIGN delivers loads of melodic and catchy hooks but there is some grit among the polish. Opening tune “No Reason” proves this with a driving riff and some dissonant chord progressions, making it a relatively heavy lead-off track. Swedish singer Johan Fahlberg continues to be the right fit, delivering verses in a comfortable range that will appeal to a wide group of melodic metal fans. “Remembering” is the type of lighter fare that the band excels at, while “Salvation” has guitarists Peter “-stros and Masahiro Eto down tuning things for the type clichéd and dull riffs that often result from down tuning. It is easily the worst song on the album despite a decent chorus.
Overall, Jaded Heart delivers fourteen songs and 64 minutes of melodic metal on GUILTY BY DESIGN. To throw some shade on things, the album could have been pared back a bit and while most of the songs are quite decent, very few leave a lasting impression. The mix is solid and everything has been put together professionally and meticulously. Those who enjoy House of Lords, Eden’s Curse, and Shakra will find that Jaded Heart offers similar high quality music with the obvious caveat that it has all been done before.
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