Your Demons - Their Angels
posted on 1/2009 By:
Let’s just get the inescapable Scar Symmetry connection out of the way right now, shall we?
Those of you fine Metal Review readers who are up on your Swedish melodic death metal are no doubt aware of the recent drama surrounding Christian Alvestam. For those who have better things to do than monitor the metal newswire, I’ll fill you in. Alvestam is most famous for being the dynamic vocalist for fairly supreme melodic death metal (MDM) band Scar Symmetry. With that band, his death growls continually struck an exceptional balance with non-cheeseball clean vocals that even your mom could tolerate, establishing him as a fabulous metal vocalist. Their most recent release and a pretty sweet album, Holographic Universe, came out in mid-2008. Shortly thereafter, Alvestam left the band, rendering Scar Symmetry unable to tour in support of the disc. This is a shame for the band, indeed, but these things happen. As a side note and testament to Alvestam’s skill as a vocalist, his former bandmates required two vocalists – a growler and a singer – to fill his shoes.
Anyway, I was surprised to learn that he sings for Miseration, which has released its debut album several times, and as far back as 2006. The most recent release was on Lifeforce Records in October of this year, and I find it shocking that the album, titled Your Demons – Their Angels, has flown under the radar for the most part so far. Since this re-release marks the first worldwide distribution of the album, that could change.
It’s by no means brilliant, nor is it terribly groundbreaking. It is, however, a respectable aggressive MDM effort that might just rip your skin off if you’re not careful. I read a comment some-damn-where on the Web that Your Demons – Their Angels sounds how this person always wanted Scar Symmetry to sound. Clearly (s)he prefers the heavier side of the SS coin. Frankly, so do I. YD-TA is deeply rooted in Swedish melodic death, but ups the heaviness factor significantly above the median. While the album has very brief moments of clean singing (“World Lethality,” “Chain-Work Soul”) and/or Kalmah-esque keyboards (“Seven Are The Sins,” “Noctivagant”), it’s unlikely anyone will label it anything less than pummeling.
The guitar tones occasionally resemble the harder side of Opeth’s Ghost Reveries but often suggest a Soilwork fetish within the band. Both of these are good things in my opinion, and as long as you enter the fray not expecting a revolutionary new sound, you just might agree. Miseration is steeped in Scandinavian metal, and it appears they’ve done their homework. They’ve taken very good bits and pieces from popular death-y bands from around the area, infused an iconic metal singer with his own style and come up with a sound that piggybacks what is already on the market. The end result is some highly listenable death metal with enough hooks to give it a decent amount of replay value.
Now, there’s some debate over whether Miseration is a Christian band, but I think I’ve untangled it for easy (easier?) digestion. Most of the music and lyrics were written by guitarist Jani Stefanovic (Divinefire, Essence of Sorrow) for a band called Renascent, which he co-founded, then quit early on, taking his songs with him (thankyouverymuch) to Miseration. Stefanovic is a big-time Christian, along with everybody else in the band except vocalist Alvestam. So, in deference to the singer’s absence of faith, songwriter Stefanovic toned down what might have otherwise been mega-Christian lyrics to thinly veiled Christian lyrics. But they’re technically in the realm of religio-neutrailty. Technically.
Ya got that?
So, the music will definitely hit the spot for a simple brutal melodic death fix, but it’s not going down in the record books as a staple for the genre. However, as overdone as the Scandinavian MDM formula has become, to see a genuinely good (re-)release in the genre is an accomplishment in and of itself. Don’t let the Christian tint turn you off to the band if you’re inclined to do so – it’s easily forgotten once the ball starts a-rollin’. And if you’ve always wanted Scar Symmetry to trim down the clean singing, this is definitely worth a listen.
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