Well, bugger me. I will never assume anything about any release ever again! I had so many preconceptions going into this review about what this would sound like and all have been blown away. The latest album from South Carolina’s Hundredth (Hopeless), Rare, is a real curveball for anyone familiar with the band. Continue reading
When new bands form they usually aim to get their music ‘out there’ as soon as possible, often releasing their début full-length album in the first couple of years. However, Archaea do not adhere to this stereotype as they are finally releasing their début album nearly eight years after forming. Although this may seem like a strange move, it does prove that a lot of thought, effort and time has gone into the creation of Catalyst (Self-release).
One of the most impressive songs on the album is ‘Vacuum’, a dramatic and almost enchanting melodic metal song. The frantic nature of the song is highlighted by the fast-paced keyboard melodies, which manage to fuse well with Nils Bossius’ powerful vocals. There is definitely a theatrical element to this song, however, it does not sound tacky or over-rehearsed.
There are many stereotypes about Swedish melodic death metal all sounding the same, but that definitely is not true. Although Archaea are able to nail all of the genre tick-lists (heavy vocals, melodic keyboard, ect), there is something a bit different about the Gothenburg-based sextet. Every song on the album sounds unique and it is hard to get bored whilst listening to it. Although there may be a slight overload of keyboard melodies, which is slightly reminiscent of Children Of Bodom, it does not change the professionalism of Archaea’s sound.
If you gave this album to someone who was scared of the melodic metal genre it would definitely encourage them to listen to more ‘melodeath’ music. Catalyst is extremely easy to listen to as Archaea have made an album which focuses on creating high-quality music with hints of other genres embedded into their sound. Although it may not be the most ground-breaking record of the genre, Archaea have worked hard to create a release is sure to gain them respect in the metal community and a wide variety of new fans.
After their 2011 album, The Fight of Our Lives, it seemed like Knoxville, Tennessee’s Straight Line Stitch were on to a brighter future. They had a record deal with eOne and a slot on 2011’s Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside acts like Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Unearth. Most metal bands would agree that that’s a sweet launching pad.
And then the momentum slowed a bit. Multiple lineup changes came and went with vocalist Alexis Brown being the sole mainstay. But in their defense, Straight Line Stitch are still in the hustle. They have a new EP, Transparency (Pavement Entertainment), and as of this writing are hitting the road with Ill Niño for the Civil Unrest Tour.
The good news is that Transparency will not disappoint longtime followers of Straight Line Stitch. From a production standpoint it sounds crisp and clear. Musically it checks off all the metalcore genre boxes.
This is good for the faithful, but for the rest of us it leaves a bit to be desired.
Songs like ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Wilderness’ have an In Flames circa Come Clarity crunch to them that I enjoyed, but most of the time they’re drawing from the same well. While not a boring release, it’s not great when you have a 22 minute running time and most of it just blurs together.
However the strong suit here are Brown’s vocal talents, particularly ‘Out of Body’ and ‘Human Bondage’ providing a great showcase for her pipes. We’ve had metalcore belters attempt the melodic hook thing since (what seems) like the dawn of time. Folks like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall have had much success with this approach. While others (Atreyu, All That Remains, Today is the Day, et al) not so much. Brown’s natural singing voice belongs with the former, it’s just a matter of her band providing some diversity in their compositions.
If they can do that, then they’re well on their way to reclaiming their blue chip prospect status in the metal hierarchy.
Today Ghost Cult brings you the début EP release from Indiana’s Into The Divine, Harbinger of Entropy. Though mainly a technical death metal act at heard, the band is not afraid to experiment with instrumental and vocal melodies, impressive guitar work, as well as old-school death and thrash influences. Formed in 2010, when its members were still in high school, the band has already opened for such diverse acts as Battlecross, Suicide Silence, Septic Flesh, Dark Tranquility and The Black Dahlia Murder. Look for the band to hit the road all summer long to support Harbinger of Entropy. Stream the full EP below:
Into the Divine is:
Cole Chavez -Guitar