Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 8/7/2007
Riders Of The Plague
posted on 9/2007 By:
In the words of the mighty Neo…. “Whoa”.
While the debut album from Florida’s The Absence, From Your Grave, was a solid Dark Tranquility inspired and core free slab of US melodic metal, it quickly wore off. However, with album number two, The Absence has delivered a pretty damn impressive and more aggressive take on melodic death metal.
While it's hard for most US bands that try the Gothenburg metal thing to not get any sort of ‘core’ tag hurled at them (Darkest Hour, August Burns Red, In This Moment, The Autumn Offering for example), there is absolutely no chance of any ‘core reference being thrown at The Absence for this album. Riders of the Plague is a straight up, viciously direct, melodic death metal album injected with a sense of Floridian fury and rage that should put the band on the map with an exclamation point.
Rounded out with a stout Jonas Kjellgren (Scar Symmetry, Sonic Syndicate, Zonaria) production the 12 tracks (2 instrumentals “Prosperity" and “Outro” not withstanding) that comprise this high octane, no bullshit album writhe with confidence of a band that knows their source material (still Dark Tranquility, At The Gates, Edge of Sanity and maybe Detonation) but makes enough slashing injections to make it their own, again without ‘coring’ it up.
Blistering, seething tracks like “The Murder”, “Merciless”, “Awakening” and “The Victorious Dead” mix with heftier more controlled songs like “Echoes” and “World Divides”, that while restrained never lose their edge and fall into overly sugary Euro harmonies. And thankfully all of them are clean vocal or cliché free, plus you also get a raucous cover of Testament’s “Into The Pit”. The afore mentioned instrumentals (“Prosperity" and “Outro”) provide a mid album breather and closure, but without being too contrived or reliant on acoustics, essentially delivering the same mix of force and melody, just without Jamie Steward’s venomous rasp.
Every so often an album comes along that seems to jump start and re-energize the flailing melodic death metal genre right before it croaks. Be it Arsis, Mors Principium Est, Detonation, Blinded Colony, Sonic Syndicate and such, but I think few would have expected a US band to perform that feat, but with Riders of the Plague, The Absence have elevated themselves into an elite category.
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