Release DetailsLABEL New Aeon Media
RELEASED ON 9/6/2004
posted on 11/2004 By:
It has been a slow year for melodic death metal. Sure, the American boys continue to mix the mosh with leftover At the Gates and In Flames riffs, but for more pure melodic death, the pickings have been slimmer than in the past few years. Many of the older acts have either called it a day or moved on to a new sound. In their wake, a new group of acts have tried to fill the void and reignite the flame by yielding a much smoother sound. A sound that can be traced back to the atmospheric flavor of Dark Tranquillity and the extreme melodies that Finland is known for. System Shock is one such band. They hail from Sweden, but have absorbed the lessons taught by their neighbors to the east. For instance, keyboards play a prominent role, and a comparison can be drawn to Mors Principium Est, perhaps even more upbeat than Mors. The guitarwork of Lukas Bergis simultaneously evokes both Kalmah and your everyday modern power metal act. Vocally, they are more interesting, with Dimitris Ioakimoglout delivering a bark from the Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) school of roars. These vocals hit their peak on “Fading Star” – a strong point on the album thanks to the dark mood generated by ethereal keys. “Safe Inside” is a fast-paced romp that perfectly illuminates the one flaw in an otherwise commendable production – the guitars need to be cranked up a notch. This doesn’t detract from the excellence of the song, but it can lead to a few moments of pause. In a few brief spots, such as on the closer “Arctic Circle”, awkward clean singing makes a brief appearance, but it quickly gives way to more palatable metal. Arctic Inside, while having a cool name, does nothing to further the state-of-the-art, but it is a fun listen that is fortunate to be released during a time of relative dearth of in the melodic death market. System Shock are not overly aggressive, so those that are looking for a quick-hitting romp may want to bypass this album. Recommended for those who prefer their melodic death to focus on the “melodic” rather than the “death”.
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