Release DetailsLABEL Black Lotus
RELEASED ON 11/30/2004
posted on 3/2005 By:
Formed in 1998, this Swedish four-piece is a relatively new outfit, only having a demo recorded in Soundlab Studios under the name Clone, and a few tracks on a Blind Guardian tribute album under their belt. Signed to Greece's Black Lotus Records, The Bereaved are making a slight reach for notoriety with Darkened Silhouette. Unfortunately, the band's talented yet played-out style might amass a considerable following, they're not exactly poised for monumental success at the moment.
Smooth transitions and adroit guitar riffs are what separate these fellows from the rest of the pack about as much as it can. Although everything's done correctly, I can't honestly say that it's always riveting. In contrast to how energetic the majority of Darkened Silhouette is, for once, the vocals are holding the band back. The dry and redundant croaking that worked well for the bands of the mid to late 90's is no longer passable, as the slick guitarwork and solid foundations were relatively fresh and unique to most of us. While I'm not a fan of bands making names out of song titles, "The Bereaved" is a quality showcasing of the inventiveness of the genre, using clean backing vocals and ending with a bluesy thrash melody. While I still hold firmly on to my complaint of the vocals, the band's choice in backing growls on "Hollow Child", among other songs, is effective in giving the tracks a memorable attribute. "Pathetic" brings some hard pressed intensity to the album, with less of a melodic emphasis and more of straightforward thrash in the vein of Carnal Forge. The timing on the vocals suffers slightly with this increased speed, but everything's held together well. For a band like The Bereaved who are excellent at this At The Gates/Gothenburg rip-off game, their remarkable skill is hardly noticeable amongst all the other bands still striving to maintain that sound. They have the skill and right ingredients, but they just need someone to hold their hands and tell them exactly what to do. As "Angels Ablaze" stays similar to every other track, the one nameable change in the song towards the end, after a majestic solo, is the hammer-on/pull-off technical death metal that appears for such a short period. Hearing amazingly written material spliced together with a somewhat characterless performance is depressing, as things could've been done differently. They need to evolve with punchier vocals, more variance, anger, and dirtier production. On one hand, I enjoy the staunch sound for this style, but it reminds me of why some bands never made it out of the starting gate for a lot of us. It's too sterile and pretty for me, and the drums sound like they'd struggle to be heard even during practice.
It's not that I don't like the album, it's just that the whole genre has run a little thin and we all know it. No matter how good you are, you're swimming upstream for the most part. The Bereaved, shockingly, are able to keep things remotely exciting, and in the realm of melodic Swedish thrash, that's an accomplishment. If these guys can harbor and release some sort of serious collective aggression, I'll guarantee I'll be listening to their next album. Until then, I recommend Darkened Silhouette to those who still can't get enough of older releases by bands like In Flames, Night In Gales, and Soilwork.
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