Posts Tagged ‘Melodic death metal’

Far Beyond - A Frozen Flame of Ice

I first came across Far Beyond a few years ago when I was scourng YouTube for some new record ideas, and came across their ‘An Angel’s Requiem’ record from 2005. I loved what I heard, and managed to find a CD copy of it for dirt cheap online. Since then, it has grown to become one of my unsung favourite records, so when I heard that we were finally getting a follow up, I was very excited. ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is out now on Aeterna Records.

Opener ‘Evernight – Part I’ is an eleven minute plus epic, a free flowing masterpiece of melodic death riffs, symphonic elements and electronic additions. Imagine getting that new Wintersun without waiting until Jari finally finishes ‘Time II’. That’s the space that Far Beyond occupy; with a vast tapestry of melodeath riffery and gleaming symphonies enhancing each step. The soloing is enough to satisfy all guitar heroes, some of the melodies would make power metal bands jealous and it is all set in this beautifully clear production.

The gloriously soaring title track is a personal highlight, but it is difficult to get through this record in just one sitting. It is a record that hits with the shine and the technical chops first time round, then on repeated listens allows you to unlock its full potential. The snowy, fantastical vibe set off by the album art is personified beautifully in the tinkling start to ‘Last Farewell’, before a cold riff kicks in the blizzard. Far Beyond have really excelled themselves here to make ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ into one of 2016’s best records.

A tour de force of uber melodic, guitar widdling death metal with progressive moments, savage black metal rasps and symphonic support, ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is a true melting pot of metal’s most infectious traits. I challenge anyone not to be empowered by listening to this.


Plying that long deepened furrow of classic Swedish melodic death metal, Portuguese warriors Karnak Seti have returned with their first record in five years, ‘The Distance That Made Us Cold’. Their previous record ‘In Harmonic Entropy’ was well received, and the band have clearly been polishing their Dark Tranquillity and In Flames records in that five year period to create 11 razor sharp tracks of thoroughly modern metal. Particularly ‘Come Clarity’ if that album art is anything to go by…

Opener ‘The Bliss of Living’ is a chugging behemoth that owes as much to Soilwork as it does to modern American beasts like Unearth. The riffs are thick, powerful and dynamic in their execution. Instantly you are drawn to headbanging, as waves of brutality smash against you. Melodic death metal is a genre that was abused a lot in the past few years, with every band out there coming acorss as mere clones of the greats. But Karnak Seti have an energy about them that empowers tracks like ‘Desolation of Soul and Flesh’ with an innate sense of melody and catchiness. And when a band has energy and enthusiam for their chosen genre, even the stalest can become must-hear.

The Haunted is another major influence here too, with Karnak Seti coming across as a band that is more concerned about heaviness than speed. That they achieve with aplomb, with each track full of great ideas. My only criticism really is that there’s no short, sharp thrashers, with almost all tracks well into four mins. That being said, when you have a band that can blend deft touches of the light and the heavy together effortlessly, who gives a fuck how long the songs are? Karnak Seti are now Killchain approved! Riff til death!

A Soul Called Perdition - Into the Formless Dawn

A Soul Called Perdition are the brainchild of Tuomas Kuusinen from Finnish veterans Pain Confessor, and their debut record is made up of mainly unreleased tracks from his Pain Confessor days. It has just been released in digital format that you can find on the band’s website, and it is a creation from many facets of heavy metal.

Opener ‘Woe’ is a fast, melodeath number with some cool riffing and a great slice of melody. ‘There is No Shelter’ is more of the same, but with even dashes of blackened ferocity thrown in there too. That doesn’t stop the more melodic choruses from working though. A Soul Called Perdition have worked hard on created just the right blend of melody and extremity. Tracks like ‘Severance’ showcase this very well, while ‘Emptiness’ is an exercise in controlled brutality.

A Soul Called Perdition keep it pretty heavy most of the way through, and only let the most insidious of melodies sneak through, so that their sound is not controlled by it. The guitarwork is stellar, and this is displayed most proudly in the shredtastic ‘To Those Who Shall Follow’. But you’d be safe with pretty much track of this high quality, sleek, melodeath killing machine. Shred til death!

Murashita - Inescapable Damnation

This one man melodic death metal band, Murashita, created by Masaki Murashita (see what he did there?), have released a debut EP called ‘Inescapable Damnation’. He used to be in Arizona death/thrashers Hemoptysis, but now plies his own brand of death as a solo artist. This EP features contributions from such metal luminaries as Kevin Talley and David Ellefson too, which just enhances the interest.

Opener ‘Retribution’ is a high energy piece, with some satisfyingly chunky riffage, and some savage blasting sections. As I’ve always said, it’s a good thing when bands don’t forget the ‘death’ part of the genre, and with various examples of fretwork fireworks, Murashita kicks off in high gear. The rampant title track is next with an impressive gallop and propulsive double kicks. It also has some great solo guitar moments that please the air guitarist in all of us. The riffs are very memorable, and the vocals have got that raspy shriek about them that is more pleasant on the ears than most monotonous melodeath vocalists.

‘Death or Glory’ opens with some great melodies, accentuated by continuously great guitar work. Murashita is immensely talented, and his fretwrok stands out in particular on this track. The uber catchy ‘Conquer the Foe’ leads to closer ‘This Show Must Go On’, which finishes in finest Gothenburg style. Murashita is a quality offering, and ‘Inescapable Damnation’ shows that there is much to watch out for from this new light in the black.

Canadian metallers Odium are onto their third record of hard hitting melodic death metal, and while this is my first experience with them, it is unlikely to be my last. ‘Terraform’ is 47 minutes of quality, ripping metal with tons of awesome guitar riffs.

Opening intro track ‘Odyssey’ sets the tone, a looming ambience creating an air of mystery which ‘Feral Inversion’ punctures with a melodic yet brutal double kick attack. Main influences seem to be Soilwork, along with some more modern thrash bands. The guitarwork is strong, and there are some great fluid soloing sections. Too many bands have wrecked the term ‘melodic death metal’ by being goddamn mediocre. Odium are both melodic and deathly, and it works so well.

Like Necrocosm before them this year, Odium are showing the world that death metal can still be brutal and contain melodies that keep you addicted. Listen to the rabid fury of ‘Centipedes’, or the soaring ‘Return to Form’ to show just how both elements can gel seemlessly. ‘Terraform’ is a solid album of memorable yet interesting and complex metal songs. There are subtle nuances to the formula, like the gothic piano intro to the chugging ‘Dead’, or the scathing Hypocrisy-esque ‘Failure II’. Andrew Fullerton’s clean vocals aren’t grating in anyway, and his growl is impressively variable.

‘Terraform’ may be a last minute addition to my favourite albums this year. They remind me of how I felt the first time I heard Scar Symmetry; a band who can meld heavy and melody without breaking a sweat. Odium are killer, and if you appreciate well formed metal that’ll infect your brain with tunes, this is the one.

Swiss melodic death metallers Soulline’s new record ‘Welcome My Sun’ is a riff monster of a record. While definitely bringing many chugging beauties to the table, Soulline also crush some melodic moments into each song, giving them an anthemic feel in parts, especially opener ‘Rise Up’, which has one of the record’s catchier choruses.

There’s some subtle In Flames-esque electronics that creep in every so often, and its the Gothenburg pioneers that Soulline most remind me of. Galloping thrashy riffs combine with chugging sections and insidious melodies to create a record full of songs that never blow you away but also don’t leave your head for a while. I especially like the racing riffing in ‘Broken by Madness’, and the roar of Ghebro has a very Randy Blythe rasp to it. There are some touches of Lamb of God about certain songs too, and the soaring ‘Right Here Right Now’ has live hit all over it.

Soulline will never set the world on fire, but ‘Welcome My Sun’ is a solid record that has a huge melodic streak in it, which brings out some great songs. Working on their song writing and bits of their sound to create something a bit more original would be good, but if you want a solid album full of good riffs and good songs, its hard to go wrong here.

Eshtadur - Oblivion

Columbian black/death metallers Eshtadur are releasing their new EP ‘Oblivion’ at the start of December via Rebelsigns. This is five tracks of melodic death metal wrapped in a blackened atmosphere that works just brilliantly.

Listen to that riff that opens ‘In a Trance With Darkness’. Its a beauty! Evolving into a hardened chug, with some ripping lead work that really highlights the excellent song writing. There are keyboard and choral enhancements, adding a great touch of grandeur to the proceedings. It’s almost what you could expect if Ihsahn had fronted a melodeath band instead of Emperor. Jagged riffs roar beneath a savage growl.

‘Last Day of the Condor’ has some great soaring leads, but doesn’t let up on the ferocity of the metal. The solo kills as well. ‘Heavens to the Ground’ has some more stop start riffing, while the galloping’The Currency of My Empire’ has some more fretwork fireworks. The apparent black metal influences are few and far between, limited mostly to some keyboard flourishes and atmospheric enhancements, but its the little touches that elevate this above just another musically impressive melodeath band.

Eshtadur close out ‘Oblivion’ with the impressive ‘The Rebellion’, which combines some melodic sections at the start with neck wrecking riffs and more of that devasating groove. The cold melodies and raspiong vocal parts bring dashes of black metal into the mix too. ‘Oblivion’ is a great release, containing everything you could want in a short release. The songs are great, the riffs are great and the keyboard parts add an additional layer of depth. Awesome!