Release DetailsLABEL Ibex Moon Records
RELEASED ON 4/14/2007
The Craft Of Contradiction
posted on 6/2007 By:
Truly melodic DEATH metal is a nearly extinct species. Weak, diluted bands pollute our metal air with their limp, failed stabs at being "accessible" while still technically fitting the death tag. We see through their bullshit and we most certainly call them on it, but for every person in the know there are 50 newbies donning their shirts and doing everything but sucking the voluntarily bald vocalist's short penis to espouse their undying love. Of course, said sucker will be on to a new band and a new scene given a year or two, but he or she will most certainly not be listening to this, Estuary's sophomore effort.
You see, Estuary are a curious bunch. The vocalist, Zdenka Prado, is of the female persuasion. She isn't bald. She doesn't have a million side projects. She doesn't sing clean choruses. Ash Thomas is the band's sole guitar player. Drummer Jesse Wilson rounds out the group at a paltry three members. Given these facts, it would be difficult to guess their given genre, but once you sit down and listen, you learn to appreciate the fact that Estuary, one band among many flying the melodic death flag, plays with just one guitarist.
Ash Thomas's work here is absolutely brilliant at times. Were it not for the fact that he was so isolated, I don't think the riffs would have the same impact. They need room to breath and move forward completely naked, undeterred from their natural course. I can think of a few times where I am listening to _____ from Sweden: One guitarist will be thrashing away on a groovy ass riff and soon enough it gets buried in a muddy mix of overdone dual guitar. This isn't to say that The Craft of Contradiction isn't without its instrumental mishaps. The songwriting could use some work. Not every track packs the same distinctive punch as the very compact and thrashy sounding "Trans Dimensional Scourge." "A Disease Called Dogma" is impressive in terms of the playing but is merely mediocre as a song. Estuary seem to do best with either short songs or longer, more epic tracks. The ones that clock in around 4 and a half seem to exist more as filler than anything else. Overall, though, I must admit...this is one hell of a thrashfest. If you dig blazing, melodic solos you'll like this album and you'll certainly love the guitar work.
And then there's the vocals. Prado sounds firm and authoritative without being too forcibly gruff or generic. To be perfectly honest, she won't win death metal vocalist of the year, but she is convincing enough to give this recording an edge that is perhaps lacking sometimes in the more melodic guitar work. Admittedly, because the music can be extremely thrashy in certain passages, I would have liked to hear some sharper differences in tone, but it's really a minor complaint and hardly keeps this album from being stellar.
It's not often that I am this impressed with melodic death metal. By sticking to the sound established on To Exist and Endure, their debut, and focusing more heavily on songwriting, Estuary have produced one of the year's finest thrashers. Recommended without reservation!
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