Since you’ll have extreme difficulties in getting a copy of this album I’m gonna turn this review into some semi nostalgic writing, ok, so bear with me. Here’s a band that was overlooked. After releasing two well played and well constructed albums of Melodic Death Metal (“Absorbing The Ashes” being the last one released back in 99), Sweden’s WITHOUT GRIEF called it a day.
“Deflower” is a very tight debut offering representing everything we love about this godly Metal genre, it gives a perfect picture of the Melo Death sound at that time (we’re talking 97). Nevertheless these Swedes were ignored and never given a fair chance, especially this album did nothing but drown among the thousands of Gothenburg Death albums, everybody were doing it, maybe if they had started a bit earlier it would have been a different situation today.
“Deflower” is an album with tons of great melodies and concrete guitar riffs. The supporting double bass drumming and melodic and heavy riffs dominate the songs, but occasionally the band puts on some slow acoustic guitars, which immediately made me think of IN FLAMES, though the arrangements are far more sugar coated than the upbeat folk themes of Friden and co.
“The Last Days” points at some old school Power Metal influences like HELLOWEEN, but there isn’t that much happy Power Metal cheesiness since this is Death Metal music. The band slows down with “Shallow Grave”, a classic “bed of nails” (or Death Metal ballad if you like) and even go totally soft on the listener with the experimental outro “Vocalise”. Jonas Granvik’s vocals are fuelled with anger and great power but are also too dry, not exactly the most experienced growler but he gets his message across the songs, which of course adds to the intensity.
The album was recorded at Aabenraa Studio, which is known for delivering uncompromising sounds; the sound is definitely heavier than you’d usually expect in the genre, many Death Metal bands do polish the melodic lines, on “Deflower” it’s quite the opposite, the sound is fierce and in your face.
A pretty good album that was released in the wrong timeframe, I would have loved to follow their progression, guess I’ll have to settle with the two albums they did. (Online December 6, 2004)