This album is firmly entrenched in the tradition of melodic death metal from Sweden. The fast and aggressive constancy in the opening sections reminded me more than a hint of At the Gates, In Flames and through its persistence, Amon Amarth. It wasn’t until half way through this seven track work that I started to hear Planet Rain, who have been actively producing demos until 2006. The third track “Lamentations” has a nice cadence after a rare mediaeval-style guitar piece but it’s really from the next one “The Stargazer” that Planet Rain leave the more rigid framework and start to play with originality and passion instead of sounding like every Swedish melo-death band you’ve ever heard. Although familiar in sound, “The Stargazer” has a flamboyant technicality and bounciness hitherto unwitnessed. It is further embellished by a catchy guitar and colourful drum line. Heavy darkness then prevails with “Falling Celestial Bodies”, which features powerful guitar work while not quite reaching the overwhelming atmosphere I’m guessing it was intended to find. The following title track, which although technically proficient, then left me cold and pining for the bog standard melo-death I’d been listening to earlier. At least the album ends with a furious technical thrash blast in the form of “Dereliction Part I – The One They Forgot”. This track contains interesting harmonies but above all really good technical, emotion-drawing guitar work which is one of the positive features of this album. It ends on a high note but rather than make me want more, just invited me to question why the bands couldn’t have reached the heights earlier.
“Antichthon” makes all the right noises but for me lacked identity or character. There was a tendency to the clinical and formulaic. There were glimmers of excellence but not enough to make this a stand-out album.
(5.5 / 10 Andrew Doherty)