Review: Neaera “Neaera” [Metal Blade Records]

Review: Neaera “Neaera” [Metal Blade Records]

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While often frowned upon by Death Metal purists, you have to admit that the Melodic Death Metal scene has bestowed some amazing material on us. After a seven year absence, Neaera has returned to prove that the Gothenburg sound can stand alongside its roots proudly.

While not from the epicenter of the Melodic Death Metal music in Gothenburg, Sweden, this German five piece defines the sound quite well. While not doing anything incredibly unique or daring with this material, Neaera absolutely craft a very enjoyable sound here on their seventh album. With riffs and melodies reminiscent of a Come Clarity era In Flames, this album is sure to satisfy fans of the genre.

While I must admit that I wasn’t into the vocals upon first impressions, they grew on me over the course of the listening experience. Ranging from a demonic scream to a rumbling guttural growl and touching on many sounds in between, they serve the songs very well. That is the real highlight of this album. If no individual part really impresses you, you have to admit that the finished product is pretty damn good. Groundbreaking? No. But a fine addition to the genre’s history no doubt.

After yet another drop in a roaring sea of unnecessary ambient introductory tracks, the album kicks in proper with Catalyst. A fairly standard death metal track with a pounding rhythm and galloping riffs, outside of the harmonically rich chorus, this is probably the track that stands apart from the melodic death formula. The star of this track in my opinion is the drums, which not only pull off the customary blast beats with ease, but add in some impressive subtle work on the cymbals which keep the track interesting.

False Shepherds follows up the blunt force of Catalyst with the guitar harmonies that define the genre. The guitars really stand out on this track coming out with some really pleasing riffs. The drums continue to impress with technical fills and a driving base to the track. A nicely executed breakdown ties a bow on a standout track from the album.

Resurrection of Wrath is another impressive track that just doesn’t offer anything new. This is unfortunately the pattern that the entire album follows. Is it good? Yes, absolutely. But there is nothing presented here that can’t be found on any other Melodic Death Metal album.

This album is very difficult for me to cast judgment on. While I love the sound, I find very little reason for it to exist. I absolutely recommend it to die-hard fans of the genre, to at least give it a try, but if you already have your opinions on Melodic Death Metal, or even are on the fence about it, you can probably pass Neaera by.

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Peter Morsellino

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