Back in September of 2005, Metalblade Records threw me a proverbial bone called From Your Grave, the first of 3 full length albums to be released by Tampa, Florida’s own, The Absence. For those of you who love this record, thank you for enjoying high quality melodic death metal at its very finest! For those who think its just OK, I’m truly sorry you’re choosing to miss out, and for those of you who don’t have a clue, allow me to bring you up to speed!
To the best of my knowledge (please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong), The Absence disbanded in 2014, shortly after recording a single with Scar Symmetry’s Per Nilsson on lead guitar, called “Oceans” in 2013. But before that single was released, they released 3 concrete, textbook melodic death albums that in my opinion, rival At The Gates’s Slaughter of the Soul or In Flames’s The Jester Race. My personal favorite of which is From Your Grave. From start to finish, it destroys you with nonstop melodic thrash riffing, epic and captivating solos, classic, raspy melodic death vocals and precision “song smart” drumming. What I mean by “song smart”, is drummer Jeramie Kling’s ability to compliment every riff in every song perfectly.
Lyrically, Jamie Stewart nails it every time, with a diverse array of song themes ranging from the super morbid, to the horror based, to the dark and personal. With a voice as consistent as his, you can’t help but be reminded of Tomas Lindberg’s work on the early At The Gates releases, Mikael Stanne’s work on Dark Tranquillity’s The Gallery or even Anders Friden’s rasps on The Jester Race.
The guitar work is beyond superb. There’s a certain honesty to the riffing in songs like “Heaven Ablaze”, “Necropolis”, or the title track, “From Your Grave”. They’re “riffs with heart” as I like to put it; 50 % catchy melodies and 50 % old school thrash, the way this style is supposed to be played. There are moments in the solos in songs like “A Breath Beneath”, where the note progressions are so perfect, you almost have to stop listening. Just recently, I was talking with a fellow guitarist in the Buffalo scene who quoted (in reference to The Absence), “They were too dope for their own good”, and there’s really no way to argue that.
All I can say is that The Absence, and this album in particular, are both a must for anyone who gravitates towards melodic death metal, or even anyone who appreciates impressive metal riffing that’s also infectiously catchy. With that, I’ll let you guys go, but before I do, here are three songs I feel you must hear if you haven’t already: