Four years in the making, “Serene Catharsis” is the full-length debut of Sweden’s CANOPY. Comprising of a mix of a few speedy tracks but mainly mid-to-slow paced Death Metal with a strong flavour of melody throughout, “Serene Catharsis” pleases as a casual listen but doesn’t do much to inspire an extended rest in the old CD player.
Now, don’t get me wrong with this album, I like it; it’s got some down, dirty chugged out riffing that always goes a long way to gratify this Metalhead. These rhythms buttressed alongside hasty lead-ins give the album a variety that is lacking in many DM releases. What makes “Serene Catharsis” not a stand-out album I can’t really explain; I am just not fully roused by it. The dynamics work, I think maybe it is a lack of a full punch that lets the CD down, but as I said, I’m not fully sure.
Starting out with a rampage, the tracks “And Oceans” and “The Lie That You Once Told” leave a distinct mark that impress, and leave an expectation of a fury that flitters away slowly as the album continues. So the opening does the trick and so songs on the album certainly grab your attention. Afterwards “Firmament Part I” down shifts the tone to a measured pace which at times does find me swinging my head in unison, and could be described almost as Doom. But, it lacks the punch such slower Death Metal needs to continue such a visceral grip on the audience. You can batter the hell out of my ears, then slowly drag them off with strength, but somewhere along the way go back to that battering to keep my senses aware and enthralled.
There are some moments during “Serene Catharsis” that conjure up memory of RAPTURE and their slow, somber tomes. But CANOPY get caught between this darkness and a Death Metal ass kicking. I’ll listen to this more probably, but not enough to have it in heavy rotation; however it contains enough likeable material for me to keep my ears open for what the band comes up with in the future.
(Online February 27, 2007)