Within the melodic death metal genre there are hundreds if not thousands of bands all trying their hardest to stand out in an ocean that is polluted with acts not worthy of attention but dilute the scene to the point where picking anything out of any worth is extremely difficult. This Swiss band’s debut “Morning Wood” met with derision from yours truly back in 2014 when I reviewed it for another outlet, thereby fitting into the pollution metaphor, where I wholly ditched the band expecting them to never get anywhere outside of their own locality. I didn’t check out their sophomore in 2017, “Purge And Purify”, but having listened to it recently, in preparation for this new effort, it was clear back then that the act had made massive improvements in musicianship and song writing which reflects in this third album.
Both the bands previous albums have been unafraid to incorporate elements from other genres, some of which might make your toes curl but credit to the bravery as modern metal bounce was added, even a blackened touch to core like tendencies on the debut. With that in mind this third release brandishes that bravery exceptionally well to record a set of songs that formulaically situates within melodic death metal but has tendrils that creep into other genres as “Thanatophobia” opens the album with a typically melodic riff reinforced up by a symphonic backdrop that allows the song to effuse bombast but balanced by barraging blasts.
When “Salem” starts the riff is melodic for sure but also has a sharpened edge that owes plenty to the melodic black metal field before it dissolves into thundering deathliness. I really liked the bass riff insertion the song solidly purveys but it is the melodicism of this song and the album that will capture fans of this scene as the modernised power of “Rotting Crows” follows. The overt catchiness is saturated in melodic pumping power and contrasts with the blasting assault of “Holy Venom”. The blast actually doesn’t make the song any heavier but I could see the point of its inclusion before it channels down a more mid-tempo vibe with sporadic blast bursts.
I did enjoy the opening sequence to “One Way overdose” with its drifting fade in guitar before it nails in with a catchy riff that morphs into something more blackened like momentarily. It is those momentary facets that really engage the listener’s attention and when the double kick rhythm is invited into the swagger, the result is excellent. There are a couple of songs on the album that failed to garner any credentials worth mentioning though they’re decent enough tracks but “Suffer-Recover” did get my attention for its variation, as the atmospheric posturing courtesy of the keyboard backing is excellently done. I wasn’t convinced by the cleaner vocal style on the slower section but the resulting riff after is magnificent, copiously saturated in catchiness before the song produces a tenfold increase in density.
“Hypochondriac” is chaotic initially before the song dives down a conduit of furious intermittent double kick where the pace is increased producing fine tempo dynamics, especially when the song swerves into slower pieces. That slower style manifests nicely with the following tune “Parasomnia”, a gentle track at first with subtle cymbal taps before the massive escalation in density where the double bass surges the power. The changes in power of the song courtesy of the double bass also allows the riffing to become that more intense but inherently catchy still as “Blessed Be The Fruit” closes the release with equally infectious riffing but here we get a rapid blast beat tempered by a variety of guitar hooks splattered into the mix.
It is clear that the intervening years since this band’s debut in 2014 have been extremely fruitful in improving the bands skill as I have said as this third album shows this Swiss band has plenty to offer on an album swarming with addictive riffing, brutalising beats, and very importantly infectious songs that will really hook your attention.
(8/10 Martin Harris)