Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 7/26/2005
Fear My Thoughts
Hell Sweet Hell
posted on 7/2005 By:
In the last year-and-a-half the metalcore scene has seen its bigger names make their transitional albums. Without fail, during the period after just having shown their greatest promise, they homogenize or streamline their sound in the name of progression. Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Trivium, Atreyu, Darkest Hour, As I Lay Dying, and even (sadly) God Forbid have all made similar rushes toward the middle ground. What has resulted is a stream of solid but consistently faceless albums. It's a bit disheartening, because there was a point where I considered myself a pretty serious fan of all these acts and hoped that at least one or two would eventually produce something remarkable. I was wrong, and the detractors were probably right. Metalcore is most likely just a trend, and a dying one at that. However, whenever it seems just about the right time to tear all my posters off the wall and become a real metalhead, something happens to renew my faith in this style of music. More and more, it seems, the band that revitalizes me is Fear My Thoughts.
The strongest act hailing from the German metalcore scene by far, Fear My Thoughts have outclassed their countrymen (Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban) with a style that has progressed in terms of both technicality and song-craft since their 1998 debut, Sapere Audio. Their previous album, The Great Collapse, witnessed the band shedding the experimental and ponderous quality of 2003's Vitriol in favor of a more lumbering Edge of Sanity/Unmoored fashioned melodeath. The shift was flawless, as it showed the band capable of retaining their artistry while compacting their song structures. A similar transition has taken place with Hell Sweet Hell.
The Edge of Sanity and Unmoored allusions remain, working in conjunction with the band's newfound tendency for transitioning from tight melodic thrash to soaring choruses similar to Darkane's Insanity or Soilwork's A Predator's Portrait albums. The result is a powerful display of potent songwriting. What makes the choruses sound like more than just piecemeal attempts to keep up with the genre forerunners is frontman Mathias Ockl's throaty delivery that's interwoven with a depth and desperation that's difficult to put a finger on. "Window's For The Dead" and "Ghosts of Time" highlight Fear My Thought's ability to pull off these transitions while proving that deft and thoughtful riffwork can coexist with passionate vocals without being overtly dramatic or self-absorbed. "In the Hourglass" and "The Sadist Hour" feature some stuttering lock-step riffing that makes for some of the lower points of Hell Sweet Hell. While working well within the faintly post-apocalyptic framework of the album, it's obviously not the band's bread and butter. Despite those brief annoyances, the musicianship remains top shelf. The leadwork and occasional key board passages continue to be classy and understated, complimenting without dominating with passing flashes of virtuosity.
While some may balk at this band and their thoroughly modern approach, I can't help but feel that this is how metal albums should sound in the year 2005. Of course, just as in past releases, Fear My Thoughts' ability to flourish on seemingly dead soil stems from their ability to put together sound and now mature compositions. While so many metalcore turned melodic death metal bands sound as if they're doing nothing more than sitting back in the studio and cranking out pentatonic half thrash, Fear My Thoughts' Hell Sweet Hell displays forethought and attention to detail at nearly every turn.
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