Release DetailsLABEL Black Lotus
RELEASED ON 12/5/2003
posted on 3/2004 By:
I have been spoiled lately with all this upper-crust, melodic death metal that’s come across my desk in the past couple of weeks. First was the excellent Burden of Grief album, then came the equally solid, memorable release by God Forbid, and now comes the sophomore work from The Duskfall, entitled Source. Still on the table for dissection is the new release by Fragments of Unbecoming as well as the DVD from the great Dark Tranquillity. It’s a little early to tell if this signals resurgence for the style, but this string of solid releases certainly isn’t a bad thing. But back to the band at hand… With strong melodic death acts popping up all over the globe, one country seemed to be conspicuously lacking in new talent, and that would be the place that spawned it all – Sweden.
The Duskfall signify that Sweden still has something left to combat the onslaught of talented Finnish and German acts. They strike a balance between the two main schools of Swedish melodeath: the aggressive, thrashy ways of At the Gates, and the sugary melodies of late-90’s In Flames. In doing so, they force a comparison to bands like Callenish Circle and Nightrage. The trademark dueling harmonies are ever-present, but they vie for position with scathing power-chord rhythms and vicious ATG-styled riffs. Kai Jaakkola’s vocals are a hoarse shout, a little like Tomas Lindberg, and a little like how “Speed” Strid sounded on the earliest Soilwork albums. The band was created in the wake of Gates of Ishtar’s demise.
Source features a scant eight tracks, clocking in at a brief 33 minutes of so. The happy ways of “Striving to Have Nothing” could have come straight off of Clayman, if Anders could bellow like a beast. The title track is a pure Gothenburg tune, with a steady, driving beat, and great leads. “Guidance” belies a Gardenian influence, with its upbeat chorus section and fast but non-threatening riffage. This is a strong track but showcases one of the few flaws I find with this band. The vocals are just overused. Kai screams, and then backs up his screams with more screams. I’d like to hear the very capable music just a little more. “Guidance” is then followed up by the vicious thrasher “Lead Astray”.
Ultimately, Source is an album that doesn’t attempt to break any ground, but instead, does a damn fine job of treading familiar territory. While it’s too short, to their credit, there isn’t any filler in sight. Fans of their previous effort, 2002’s Frailty will definitely dig this new one, as the blueprint has hardly changed, moving ever-so-slightly in a more melodic direction. Why mess with success? For those that are not yet burnt out on Swedish melodic death, The Duskfall comes highly recommended.
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