The Burning Horizon At The End Of Dawnposted on 11/2004 By:
As much as I love At The Gates or old In Flames style death metal, it is nice to hear a change every now and then. The Mandrake is one of a recent crop of death metal bands to fuse an almost At The Gates or The Haunted guitar tone and riff structure (albeit a heavier feel) with heavier death metal vocals. As great as Tomas Lindberg’s vocals are, they are suited to ATG, Nightrage and other more thrashy bands. Thus, heavy vocals are perfect for this style of death metal, due to the heaviness of the band.
The thing that sets this band apart from ATG is simply the way the songs are put together. They can throw a more complex riff together to get a song moving, but then they can either slow it down with a sludgier-death death sound, or speed it up with the classic, Floridian sound of perhaps Death or even as brutal as Morbid Angel or Krisiun. This is fantastic because these heavier bands really bore the shit out of me, but I truly appreciate their musicianship. To have sporadic bursts of supreme musicianship juxtaposed alongside superb songwriting and harmonizing skill is a godsend.
Take a song like “Renounce the Sun” for example. They have a refrain that ends up sounding like death-metal-scale-playing, which has its own merits when used as spice, not the meat of a song. Then the song gets hyperblast-fast, only to slow down with some deep, non-cliché harmonies (not just playing the same exact riff a simple half step above each other like so many asinine and childish hardcore bands love to do for lack of songwriting skill). If you heard the beginning of “Burning Horizon”, you wouldn’t even think you were listing to über-brutal death metal because of how emotional the guitar intro sounds, however it takes you through a brutal battlefield of aural beatings only suited for the more extreme fan.
The thing I liked about the album is the fact that they didn’t seem to throw things together for the sake of putting every possible metal trick in the book into their album to silence any critics who would say they were missing something. Every slow moment felt like that was where the song needed to head at that particular moment in time, and yet it isn’t predictable. Once you hear a changeup, you are surprised, but somehow in your head it was exactly where you knew deep down the song should head.
Simply put, this band is pretty fucking great. The vocal variety is perfectly placed; the brutality will appeal to the most gut wrenching grindcore fan, while the raspy blackened vocals would warrant a satanic smile from the grimmest of the grim kvlt black metaller. Perfectly placed soft moments (guitar-wise, not a clean vocal to be had here) are, well, perfectly placed. I can think of no reason why any fan of any style of brutal metal wouldn’t toss their sister in a meat grinder just for a chance to hear Burning Horizon At The End of Dawn, by The Mandrake, as it comes with my highest recommendation.
"Burning Horizon" - Awesome change-ups keep the pace moving perfectly
"Deadside of Eden" - Unpredictable solos and insane guitarwork