Hailing from Northern France and playing a very Scandinavian brand of melodic death metal, the promising Either Way are all set to unleash their debut offering on the musical world via Great Dane Records. Being likened to Dark Tranquillity in the presser, I have high hopes for how this will sound as melodic death metal is a go to genre of mine. Without further ado, let’s look what is behind the light.
If you had no idea that this was a melodic death metal album, the opening track “Across The Light” would reveal it to you with its hypnotic synth work and dramatic choir like effects accompanying a melodic harmony lead line. If this didn’t convince you, the segue into track two, “Redemption” certainly will with its pounding, fast paced tempo and precise heavy riffing. Raw vocals, subtle guitar melodies in the verse with dramatic synths give a well rounded verse sound and you can tell where the Dark Tranquillity influences lie in terms of composition. A memorable hook filled chorus and more heavy and melodic riff filled sections pave way for a technical and fluid solo. “Phoenix” adopts a similar approach with its melodic keyboard line over some chunky steady paced riffs and when it picks up the pace, it has a real twisting groove laden main riff. Chugging guitars and tight drums with raw vocals give the verse a real heavy edge and the chorus ups the tempo once more with a real pushing feel to it. Whilst the solo is another slice of technical work, the intricate riff and harmony section which follows it is the highlight of this track and the ending isn’t too shabby either.
“Always Look To The Star” has a heavy intro with a simple lead melody. The complex sounding drums and dramatic synths help round this up and the slight breakdown feel underneath the solo works well enough before the big beefy sounding riff with plenty of head-banging groove slams home. A thunderous bass-line and epic choir like synth effects set up the chugging verse and the chorus has a real impact with its big sound, especially highlighted with the intricate piano lines. In the guitar solo we get even more technical work but the tricky bass-line really steals the show here and the fast heavy riffs round it off nicely, again another solid track. “Evil In Me” is where things start to get a little more interesting. Forgoing the musical sound so far, this one has a real ominous vibe to it from the intro and when the rest of the band kicks in for the fast paced section it really hits home. Heavy bass, clever use of piano and synth to help transitions and laboured sounding vocals which get raspier as it progresses, this is a song which has some real feeling to it. Frantic in the chorus and a virtuoso like bass solo which precedes the guitar solo, this track is where the band starts to shed the similarities to Dark Tranquility and begin to find their own sound.
“Red Eyes” has a catchy bass-line intro which is mirrored by the lead guitar melody and it has a real pushing groove to it. With mid 2000’s In Flames styled semi-clean vocals in the bass-heavy verse, this one has some great build up work as it gets bigger towards the chorus which is a repeat of the intro section and as the track goes on, it gets more complicated and frantic, growing in strength as it progresses. “Faces” has a slight djent like quality to its sound. The pounding intro leads to some heavy riffing with classy fills and some fantastic bass-lines. The slight polyrhythmic chugs in the verses give way to a fast paced groove in the chorus and round the midpoint of the song, the real heavy riffs and atmospheric synths come in to create a great heavy section. The only thing which lets this song down are the vocals in the outro which are the weakest on the album in my opinion and it‘s a shame, because it really puts a downer on a solid track!
“Trouble In My Mind” opens up with a more alternative metal feel to it. Big sounding riffs, melodic lead lines and a great bass tone open the track up well and the verse picks the pace up a little whilst still keeping this solid sound to it. The chorus comes in with a real kick and the interplay between the piano, bass and vocal lines works really well. Guitar solo wise, its solid but the rhythm section takes the plaudits here and the small bass solo after the guitar one once again steals the show. In all, this track has a great head-banging feel and it doesn’t surrender it at all. “Scarecrow” keeps the pounding groove feel from the previous track, favouring a solid rhythmic approach and some great synth use to add that extra edge. This however comes at a cost as the vocals in the verse seem lost in the mix at times but the brilliant drum work in the chorus more than makes up for this shortcoming. The lead also feels rather subtle at times due to the excellence of the rhythm section and once again, the head-banging feel is present throughout this track. “Black Soul” wraps the album up and it starts off with a melancholic sounding piano intro and some samples of people walking around and moving things. This leads into a melodic, slow paced lead section which leads into a guitar and bass harmony line with a real big rhythm behind it. The clean to harsh vocal shifts in the verses and the solid groove which underpins the whole song works great and once again, the lead guitar work is technically sound as this track draws close on a rather interesting album.
In my experience, most albums either start strong and fade out or get stronger in the middle before peaking or hitting a plateau but this album seems to start on a plateau and then peak at the end. It’s a great debut effort which gets stronger as it goes on which as mentioned before, to me at least seems like the band finding their own sound rather than sounding similar to someone else. It takes a while to appreciate, but once it sinks in, you’ll love it. A solid effort!