Reviewed: [November 2021]
Released [2021 Self Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Mexico’s Sense of Noise describe their music as “Elegantly Crafted Melodic Death Metal.” And while that might sound more like pretentious ad copy for artisanal cheese or somesuch, based on what the band delivers on their self-released debut album, it’s a fairly apt and certainly not self-reverential.
The “elegant” part? Well, that is somewhat debatable. While the band’s Gothenburg-inspired metal is certainly rich in melody, with lots of clean vocals, grand choruses and lavish keyboards, it is also jarringly heavy at times thanks to Fede d’Empaire’s gut-punch guitar tone and frontman Jerome Chanona’s imposing roar. His vocals sound closer to Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher than, say, Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid, who actually makes a guest appearance here on “Zero Killed.” Not that that’s a bad thing – on either count. So elegant with an asterisk, perhaps.
These guys definitely pack a wallop, especially when you factor in the brash, crunchy production from d’Empaire, who also provides most of the clean vocals to offset Chanona’s growling. But like Dark Tranquillity, vintage In Flames, At the Gates and, of course, Soilwork, who are obvious reference points for the sonic template here, Sense Of Noise have a flair for opulent melodies, crafty hooks and well-timed catchiness.
Take, for instance, the rousing “woah, oh, woah, oh, oh, oh!” gang-sung backing harmonies on “Our Dying Light” that are sure to get the crowd going when the band plays live. The somber opening to the song, with its sparse violin and acoustic guitar, are a nice touch as well, giving it a Western feel – if but for a moment – until the big riffs and rasps muscle there way in. Same goes for the brief taste of Latin rhythm in the closing number “Sense Of Darkness.”
But there is certainly more of a pronounced “Swedeath” presence here – Meridian Dawn frontman Antony Hämäläinen, ex-Nightrage, also guests on the bracing “Rage of Existence” – than anything that speaks to Sense Of Noise’s own sense of place and personality. The intent seems more to capture a sound than really craft one of their own. And while the band do a stellar job of delivering the melodic death metal goods, a bit less Northern Europe and a bit more Central America in the compositions and presentation would have been welcome. Elegant or otherwise.