SummarySolid Techno-riff melodic death metal
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All aboard the bandwagon. The year is 2003, and everybody wants a piece of the trending melodeath sensation. In places like North America bands were mixing only elements of it into their music to form the metalcore movement, but in Northern Europe at the time, chances were if you were a band from the Netherlands and played anything between thrash and death metal, you would sound something like this.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say this is basically somewhere between the sound of the critically acclaimed ‘Slaughter of the Soul‘ album and Soilwork’s second record ‘The Chainheart Machine’. The melodeath screamy yet forceful vocals sound like a carbon copy of early Soilwork’s Bjorn Strid. The guitars are pure melodic death riffing with tons of the characteristic downstroke bass note then articulated melody on the string below, with a particular emphasis here on the riffy aspect as the bass/root-notes sound deliberately almost sucked in so as to get that controlled low end and strong accented melodic attack bulging forward at the front of the mix. When the guitars don’t play techno metal, they’ll grace the tracks with suspended full sounding power chords, more alt metal sections with chorus-like chord strumming, or some of the bluesy pentatonic licks a la At The Gates. Of course the album contains quite a few lead/solo moments, all in melodeath tradition comprising steadier melodic phrasing with the occasional harmonic minor/middle-eastern sounding segments, and naturally, a few neoclassical arpeggios.
It should be said the riffing is cohesively put together, and beyond how stereotypical the album sounds as a whole the songs are surprisingly pleasant and carry a serious punch to them quite regularly. The album isn’t exactly hypnotically enticing from beginning to end and some songs will fall more under the more-of-the-same category, although none are genuinely bad either, but the first four tracks are some really solid early 2000’s melodeath that does enough to avoid being pure copycat material.
The area of tracks 8-10 consisting of the title-tracks ‘My Passion //’ to ‘// Your Pain’ is quite honestly excellent melodic death altogether and showcases the band’s ability to write with maturity, using space and variety versus the usual constantly action-packed material. The main lead themes get stuck in the listener’s head in a hurry, with a great use of leitmotiv repetition; the verse puts the techno-metal guitars on hold as there are just vocals over bass and a light drum presence, and the in-between instrumental track, acting as an interlude, is just acoustic guitars introducing a pleasant natural feel to the ride.
On a deeper note, I’ll go ahead and include this in the review, a passage from the movie ‘American Psycho’ which actual sample is featured at the start and end of the track ‘My Hate Unfolds’. I’m putting this here as its message does not leave one indifferent (to say the least…) and it’s interesting the band would think of utilizing it the way they did and it establishes a colder feel to the album:
“My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself.”
Basically the album starts off well with a very solid front row foursome and ends well with the 3-track planned climax as a surprisingly balanced farewell. The tracks in the middle are alright if the listener is a sucker for melodeath, but not essential otherwise. An album like this has a lot of potential for being laughably generic and immediately redundant, but this one is genuinely solid and offers enough unique personality that the listener might want to come back.
Release date: May 5th, 2003
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