THE ABSENCE arenít afraid to wear influences on their collective sleeves, thatís for sure.
In the Floridian Melodic Death Metal quartets latest offering, "Enemy Unbound," you can hear distinct compositions harking back to both classic IN FLAMES and AT THE GATES.
Letís be honest though: thereís nothing inherently wrong with this at all. In fact, the band have succeeded in crafting an incredibly tight and highly technical piece of work which will go down nicely for anyone with their tastes rooted in Metal of a certain Gothenburg orientation.
Similarities aside, "Enemy Unbound" is a brilliant example of how Melo-Death has progressed since it burst into this world during the mid-90ís. Weíve got the dual guitars playing in harmony, Thrash Metal-esque pacing, and lumbering breakdowns with plenty of palm-muting to boot.
Now, this isnít a criticism, I love Melodic Death, and by the sound of this record, so do THE ABSENCE. But the band have brought very little to the table when it comes to a little bit of individualization. I know, Iím playing the Ďsimilarityí card again, but listen to any of the tracks on the album, and minus the furious fretboard noodling, youíd be forgiven for thinking you were hearing one of the almighty Melo-trinity releasing some lost material or something to that effect.
Tracks such as "Erased" and "Enemy Unbound"í possess wonderful guitar passages which are both memorable and well written, and the likes of "Wartorn" and "Hidden in White" will make your head bop until it can bop no longer.
See, thereís nothing particularly wrong with the album material, but thatís simply because THE ABSENCE have chosen such a flawless formula that, with the right execution and skill behind the instruments, they canít lose.
If you can put up with the determined plank-wankery and more than a few deja-vu moments, THE ABSENCEís "Enemy Unbound" provides a perfectly solid, flawlessly composed and somewhat nostalgic fix for fans of Melodic Death/Metal.
Nothing new here, but itís awesome all the same.
(Online November 3, 2010)