The Few Against Many
posted on 10/2009 By:
As Scar Symmetry have moved on, replacing vocalist Christian Älvestam with two new vocalists, Älvestam has also moved on with two new efforts; first Miseration and their forthcoming sophomore effort The Mirroring Shadow and this, the debut from The Few Against Many.
Like Miseration, The Few Against Many is a Melodic death metal band at heart comprised of some of the scene’s relatively well known luminaries including guitarist Patrik Gardberg (Torchbearer), bassist Anders Edlund (Incapacity, Solar Dawn), vocalist Pär Johansson - (The Duskfall, Torchbearer) and Miseration compadre, drummer Jani Stefanovic (also in Crimson Moonlight, Incapacity and Sins of Omission). And while Miseration and The Few Against Many do share similar styles (chunky, heavier take on melodic death metal) and some members, a couple of things make The Few Against Many slightly different. First, other than two songs ("Abider" and closer “One with the Shadow”), all of the songs are sung entirely in Swedish. Second, The Few Against Many features a very heavy synth presence that backs the music with an almost orchestral sense of atmosphere and dramatics, not unlike some Goth or Symphonic Black metal. Not hokey, sugary synths but a Wagnerian tone that’s elegant yet stern. It’s these synths that raise Sot slightly above the typical melo-death affair, and when combined with the relatively beefy, up tempo and fierce melodic death metal that isn’t your usual, shimmering, layered solo filled Gothenburg tripe, the end result is rather striking.
Sot has no ballads, no interludes or fruity injects, no clean vocals, just very sturdy, riff based death metal with a hint of melody, sweeping keyboards and Älvestam’s gruff growls. It’s a little more direct, brutal and in your face than Miseration and certainly far more vicious and bruising than Scar Symmetry, often bordering on traditional death metal. Tracks like short but blistering opener “Hädanfärd,” thrashing “Blod,” “Abider,” and “Heresi” will knock the socks off folks expecting sugary Scar Symmetry styled commercial death metal. A few more restrained moments like “Skapelsens Sorti,” and the lengthy title track, reign things in a tad with a few moments of mid paced chunk, solos and melody amid the otherwise high octane material. Aforementioned closer “At One With Shadow” is the album's only real ‘slow’ number, ending the album with a nice slow churner and allowing the listener to catch his or her breath.
Armed with a very burly production, Sot will surprise those curious to hear Älvestam’s new iteration and while the upcoming Miseration release may be more in line with what fans expect, the fact is, Sot is a pretty kickass album in its own right and personally much more enjoyable than the new Scar Symmetry album.
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