Here in my blog I use to make some simplifications with regards the classification of music, otherwise I would be in great trouble to have thousands of different digests for every single sub-genre and style. With Melodeath, for example, I refer to that wide family of releases which span from melodic death metal to melodic black metal and blackened death, passing sometimes through symphonic metal and gothic.
Having made this clarification, let’s now focus the attention to the most important releases we had since the beginning of the year. I’ve selected five albums from both consolidated and emerging bands, these give a very good indication of what happened in the domain of melodic metal in these first two months of 2019.
As far as geography is concerned, we have two albums from Sweden (Soilwork and Diabolical), one from Finland (Swallow the Sun), one from Greece (Rotting Christ) and one from Italy (Lahmia). Only European formations: is this a mere coincidence?
Let’s see some details about these albums, and there is also a lot of music to hear!
“Verkligheten”, by Soilwork
One of the most expected events for the beginning of the year was certainly the release of the new album from Soilwork, if only because the LP was anticipated last year by a very interesting single (Stålfågel).
Soilwork have always been one of those bands possessed by the germ of change and in fact, during their long career, they hardly managed to consolidate a recognizable and well-defined style of music. After taking their first steps into the world of melodic death, the guys from Helsingborg have incrementally injected in their music external elements from quite distant genres such as metalcore, symphonic heavy metal and, in the last years, groove metal. The results, in true honesty, have been alternating between convincing albums but also a few questionable releases.
Soilwork’s new album, called Verkligheten (“Reality”), shows the same eclectic approach to metal and in fact it ranges among quite different styles. Going from the metalcore constructs of the song Arrival to the hard rock riffing of The Nurturing Grace is definitely an intriguing journey, but also a bit dizzying. As often happens with this kind of albums, there are songs where the fusion of influences is more effective (the already mentioned Stålfågel is certainly one of these), while others run away without leaving particular emotions. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about this record, despite I’ve listened to it on repeat mode for many times, but I can certainly isolate a couple of enjoyable and intriguing songs to keep in my playlists.
“When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light”, by Swallow the Sun
I’m mentioning here the beautiful album When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light by Swallow the Sun, which was already introduced in the DOOM METAL Radar. The new LP from the six-piece Finnish formation was one those we were expecting with some trepidation and, in the end, it confirmed the expectations.
The LP is impregnated by sadness and melancholy, but the atmospheres never become excessively oppressive. In this respect, the band has really achieved an impressive maturity in songwriting: they really know how to build up and dissolve the tension, and how to balance melancholic and energetic moments so that the songs remain always equilibrated and enjoyable to hear.
There is a dedicated review of the album, you can check it out.
“Resilience”, by Lahmia
I could not remain indifferent to an album that comes from my hometown. Obectively, however, this Italian band named Lahmia has demonstrated in their new LP to have really many qualities. The style of music played by Lahmia in their new work, called Resilience, represents the almost perfect synthesis of three relatively different musical genres: we have a baseline of melodeath metal, which remains the primary element of their style, but there are also elements from classic death metal and gothic.
The final result is absolutely nice, especially because all the different influences have been dosed with great wisdom and balance across all the eight tracks of the LP. But on the other hand the history of the band says that Lahmia have gone to the recording studio only when they had accumulated quality material, as testified by the fact that Resilience is the second LP in a career that started almost twenty years ago. And the results are absolutely positive.
“Eclipse”, by Diabolical
A quick mention is necessary for the new album by Diabolical, the Swedish formation that has released on mid February the fifth LP of their career, named Eclipse. The band has recently turned twenty years of activity, and their new work shows how they are still willing and somehow curious to experiment with the fusion of different styles of music.
Eclipse is a fairly particular album. The band has tangibly attenuated the more aggressive elements of death metal, compensating it with a greater emphasis on the symphonic and gothic aspects of their style. The result is a collection of intriguing and also “catchy” songs, among which I can highlight a couple of particularly compelling tracks (Failure and Black Sun). This is a record that probably won’t meet the tastes of those who prefer a heavier and more complex approach to Melodeath, but which still provides an interesting and quite original interpretation of the genre.
“The Heretics”, by Rotting Christ
Those who remember the first steps taken in the world of metal by Rotting Christ, probably are still amazed to find their works included in the category of melodeath. On the other hand, it’s been now from many years that Greek band has completely abandoned the harshness and brutality of grindcore to move into the world of melody, with generally good results,
The Heretics, their latest studio LP, offers a good and solid collection of songs that are extremely catchy and nice to hear, and which share a same thematic concept that is, precisely, about that labile border which exists between free thought and heresy.
Musically speaking, the new LP represents a further consolidation of that style of melodic music that evolves from black metal and death, which has now become the signature of the band. At times one gets the impression that in the new LP the thematic aspect prevails over the musical one, but we still find a handful of songs of great interest (my favourite ones are Fire God and Fear and Heaven and Hell and Fire).
If you liked this digest, you will love the playlist MELODEATH, which features the best melodic metal that was released in the last couple of years. Enjoy!