|Fall Of Serenity - The Crossfire
19 November 2007
01. Immortal Kingdom
02. Knife To Meet You
04. The Crossfire
05. A Whore Called Freedom
06. Funeral Eclipse
07. Act Of Grace
08. In Case Of Death
09. Blindfolded [feat. Sabina Classen]
10. Blood Portrait
It never fails to amaze me how much a band can improve in only one year. Last time I heard of Fall Of Serenity was in 2006 when they released Bloodred Salvation. In my review for that album I kind of dismissed them for being too similar to the masses of clones that clog this overcrowded genre. One year and a couple of line up changes later, they are back, with a vengeance and the will to show us worthless maggots that they are NOT just another band.
The usual main shortcoming of Gothenburg melodeath bands is the lousy songwriting. A lot of bands focus on being very extreme, or very melodic, or very technical, but somehow very few of them got the idea to bring this all together, plus to actually write songs. They end up releasing albums that just don't have any distinctive feature. What propels Fall Of Serenity above the rest is their ability to write memorable songs you can differentiate while still being extreme, melodic and fairly technical. Be it the martial ending on "A Whore Called Freedom", the monumental chorus of "Funeral Eclipse", the thrashy feeling of "Blood Portrait" or the melodic guitar parts on "Act Of Grace" every song holds something different and interesting, something you're looking forward to every time you listen to "The Crossfire" again.
Another big improvement: instead of sounding exactly like the infinite throngs of Swedish bands, Fall Of Serenity do it Dutch style. They are somewhere between the virtuoso guitar work and song-focused approach of Detonation and the sheer brutality of Callenish Circle, with strong leanings towards 'real' death metal (like on the title track for instance). The rhythm section does one hell of a great job at giving a massive death metal touch to this album. Save the occasional breakdowns - which are so fat it's like someone tries to break your neck with a sledgehammer -, the pace is relentlessly fast. Relentless are the vocals, too. Former bassist John Gahlert (with guest appearance by Sabina Classen on "Blindfolded") does not bring much variation, but he sounds very menacing all along the album.
Dan Swanö, who mixed and mastered the album, said "Fall Of Serenity is so fat you'll gain 10 kilos every time you hear it!!!". Without going that far, I can say Mr Swano is not entirely out of his mind. Fall Of Serenity sounds like all these interchangeable weak Gothenburg metal bands would if they finally decided to grow some balls, learn to write songs and play actual aggressive music. In a year that has already seen quite a lot of interesting releases in the genre, Fall Of Serenity goes up there at the top of the category with Dark Tranquillity, Dawn Of Tears and Detonation. Nothing less.
Highlights: Knife To Meet You, The Crossfire, Funeral Eclipse