01. Kings Of Greed 02. Trench Of Souls 03. Ur Askan 04. Devilspeed Loathekill 05. Reap 06. Under A Canopy Of Stars 07. Hung In Gallows By Dawn 08. This Coming Nightfall 09. Funeral Of A Porcelain Doll 10. Masses Flee 11. Insurrection
Sweden's long running Meadows End manage a considerable feat for melodic death metal with their latest album The Sufferwell, their second full-length effort. It manages to fit symphony to death metal in such a way that it never comes across as grandiose or oversaturated. It's a well written exercise in powerfully swelling melodies.
The combination of symphony and death metal often means continual compromise; or a mixing of these two elements in fluctuation that makes for a varied listen. While this album doesn't sound particularly diverse in its approach, the symphonic and melodic death metal components are so tightly combined that it presents a formidable consistency that flies straight and true toward a decisive outcome. More often than not the guitars and death growls will lead, though the album isn't left without a chance for the symphonic elements to push to a more forward position in the mix, and it's primarily this interchange which creates much of the album's diversity around the very focused direction of the record.
There is a continual sense of atmosphere upheld in the symphonic aspect which manages to stay the course throughout the duration of The Sufferwell, much of the album's drive coming from the cohesively melded melodies. Not only is this a consistent effort, it also has nice flow to it, each track acting as a key part of something larger, as pieces of one continual symphonic sequence.
This moves coherently in an Amon Amarth march and is met in equal measure throughout with the never invasive or overstated sweep of symphony to create a connected listening experience overall; which isn't like your average melodic death album which merely functions as a track list or just as a collection of tunes. This album unfolds almost cinematically for the ears; from its beginning to its end there is always an impression that the tunes are leading somewhere, building to something and reaching forward to a particular destination. Melodic death with a plot, you might say.
Notably the symphony doesn't outweigh the death metal, and avoids leaving the latter in a rather limp and vigourless state. The balance managed here is the album's greatest strength, and the symphonic and death metal components are well matched. Some tracks seem to fall into repetitive patterns as far the guitar work goes, such as in segments of "Funeral Of A Porcelain Doll," wherein we find an example of where riffs recede as the symphonic element occupies the fore. Although shifts like this and transitions between the death metal and the symphonic components are used effectively from track to track, some holding a stronger melodic death format, some a more symphonically directed sound but always blending to two very tightly.
This blending makes each of these two key stylistic elements symbiotic, each having an integral part to play in the song writing overall, which is ultimately rewarding even in its lack of a distinctively unique presentation.
The Sufferwell comes highly recommended for fans of Nightfall and the like, or symphonic death metal fans in general.
I'm interested too. Will check it out. I wonder what held the score back though
Mostly the originality factor, while I think it's nicely written and performed it doesn't strike me as something startlingly new or different. Although the particular way in which the band went about writing the album is commendable I think, hence a good score.