Art of Aggression
posted on 2/2005 By:
Art of Aggression is the debut from Swedish death thrash new kids Scenteria. The band was formed in 2002 in Halmstad and proceeded to bang out a couple demos that didn’t receive much attention. The third time was a charm though, and 2003’s Path of Silence demo caught some attention from labels, with the band eventually landing a deal with Karmageddon Media. It’s a good signing for the label, as Scenteria show quite a bit of promise for a young band.
Art of Aggression follows the well traveled path of At the Gates riffing and chugging thrash in the vein of other contemporary thrash acts like The Haunted. The band varies their attack a bit, from a full on blitz on tracks like “Reign of Hate” and “Acts of Lunacy”, to a more moderate and melodic approach. And therein lays the problem. That is, the disconnect between my reviewer and fan opinions. From a reviewer perspective, there is not much to criticize. Definitely no wheel reinventing here, but it’s a solid and professional effort, especially for a debut. The band’s execution is razor sharp, the riffs have plenty of heft, and the band has a good sense of melody. “Acts of Lunacy” is one of the more aggressive tracks and is a strong album opener. Niklas Pettersson and Stefan Persson lay down some fierce, chugging, machine gun riffing, and Persson’s vocals are belted out in a welcome guttural growl. The band adds some slower and more melodic lead work into the chorus, before launching back into high gear for the verse. Tracks like “Infected War” and “Reign of Hate” follow a similar trajectory. “Forever Lost” is a crushing combination of Slayer-style riffs and Swedish death metal, while “Addicted” and “Blackend” incorporate more of the melodeath elements. In places the band uses keyboards in a very subtle and understated manner to support the melodies without becoming intrusive.
However, I prefer my thrash to bristle with a redlined urgency, and too often Scenteria leverage their headlong assault with a more controlled and melodic approach. In the end, although this is clearly quality material, I find parts of it a bit mundane. An album that better balances the two is last year’s Demonoid release, Riders of the Apocalypse. I encourage you to check out Scenteria for yourself though, as my complaints may be a minority opinion. This album has gotten some good word of mouth and positive reviews.
This is a strong debut, and will no doubt win some fans with its derivative, but nonetheless well played death thrash. Next time around, I’d like to see the band develop a stronger sound of their own, and lay the hammer down more often, as these guys can do some damage when they go all out.
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