Craving melodic death metal? Grab a fork and come hungry. The lads bring it late 90’s-early 00’s style a’la In Flames with some classic 80’s metal elements thrown in to season it with some extra spice. Don’t like harsh/clean vocal dynamic? Come a little closer then, there’s nothing clean in sight. Vocals are largely in the higher registered end of the scream spectrum, with brutal lows sprinkled throughout. Honestly, I prefer lower vocals, especially here since singer Mike Marlinski’s lower range seems to be a bit stronger than his higher range, but they both serve this release well as they’re done tastefully.
The arrangement of the songs and instrumentation is definitely noteworthy too. The songs really don’t have a lot of fat, and are pretty hooky. As expected, guitars are melodically brutal, harmonized up the wazoo, beautiful at times (check the intro “Virtue”), technically sound and tightly recorded. The album cuts a generally upbeat pace but the faster tracks like “Calloused Remains”, “We Will Walk Through Fire”, and a certain cover of a certain classic Swedish band, really gets the blood flowing south for me. Ripping speedy harmonized riffs like the Swedish lords of old will probably always sound cool and if it were up to me they’d all be fast, but luckily for drummer David Geis, I’m not in their band. Luckily for the band, they’re also not that one dimensional. Slower songs like “The Gray Agenda” behoove the album as much as the faster ones do and ensure a cohesive flow from track to track is attained.
There’s not really a whole lot to critique here, honestly. These guys know the style well and play within those strengths. Does it push the genre forward? No, but lots of great albums don’t. What it does do is maintain a standard of quality and heightened expectations of what this sound is, has been, and could be, which not every band or album does. So besides maybe more fast songs and guttural vocals (I jest, only slightly though), there isn’t really anything I’d like to see different about this album. If you like melodic death metal, and don’t like this album, you might not like melodic death metal. Two thumbs up, play on dudes. Buffalo rules.