Rating:
9.0
Faithful Darkness - In Shadow Lies Utopia
28 April 2008


01. Stay Awake
02. Pure Silence
03. Dispelled Dreams
04. Fast I Fall
05. Human Torch
06. Bound To Illusions
07. Alive
08. Afterlife
09. In Shadow Lies Utopia
10. Believer
11. Fields Of Yesterday


Mr. Judas, aka Jimmy Persson, didn't want to be known only for his skills as a drummer, so when he left Soilwork back in 1999 he began toying with the idea of having his own band, one where he would be able to showcase his talents as a guitarist. Hence, in 2004, he decided to start Faithful Darkness, and, after a few good but rare demos, "In Shadows Lies Utopia" sees the light of day. It doesn't take long to realize the frontman chose to point in the direction he first appeared in, which is a way of saying Faithful Darkness is a Melodic Death Metal project, and proudly so. Thankfully.

Soilwork is becoming a shadow of its former self (or former itů whatever), but one has to recognize the quality of its members, even if you can only notice it on their side projects. Under whatever name they are working on, they are still releasing some great music, and you just have to be attentive to get a hold of it. Jimmy Persson is doing exactly that at the moment, and it's a shame if this album doesn't reach a wider audience because it certainly deserves more attention than a "Stabbing The Drama" or a "Sworn To A Great Divide."

"In Shadows Lies Utopia" is quite simply great modern Metal. It's the sound of a band knowing exactly what they want and what to do to achieve it. This Swedish sextet puts all its energy and talent to good use, and aim for brutally effective songwritting; songs that may not be destined to be regarded as innovation personified, but that will for sure put metalheads out there headbanging and screaming its chorus with pleasure. This album works, first and foremost, as a succession of really likable tracks.

Each minute offers a very mature blend of catchy brilliance that has been so difficult for even older bands to achieve these days. Faithful Darkness embraces the Gothenburg vibe with confidence, without ever distancing themselves from it, they go for the duo of guitarists taking the lead in determining the rhythm of the songs, usually mid-tempo with a lot of attention to melody, drums and bass on the background, harsh vocals, and even easy-on-the-ear keyboards filling up spaces for atmosphere, all memorable and intricately woven together. Why bore the listener with technical ruminations when you can make an album that's instantly accessible and still achieve a very interesting quality of depth and musical dynamic?

What made the ever aging "Colony," "A Predator's Portrait," or "Swamplord" successful is what makes "In Shadows Lies Utopia" successful. You can pick a track randomly, and you'll get a great one. Here's a newcomer that understands what Melodic Death Metal is, there's no misinterpretation, no influences from newer tendencies, and produces it with undeniable quality, under fantastic production values. French filmmaker Robert Bresson once said, through the voice of one of his characters, that "the simplest tasks are by no means the easiest". That's it. There's nothing more I can add.


Band profile: Faithful Darkness
Album: In Shadow Lies Utopia


 


written by Passenger | 06.10.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Spyroid - 08.10.2008 at 00:12  
I can't really believe what has become of this band... they're from my hometown and I've known the members for ages, and I've probably seen them live 25 times. I still remember their first gig. And now they have a record deal, people from Portugal write reviews about them and they are probably becoming the next big Swedish metal export... that's totally awesome!

Of course I like your review but there's one point where I don't really agree with you: "It's the sound of a band knowing exactly what they want and what to do to achieve it"

The band probably knows what they want to do now, now that they've formed a sound of their own. But it's easy to hear that songs on this album has been written over a long time (4 years) and with many different influences. "Afterlife" is almost black metal when "Alive" and "Believer" have a strong touch of power metal, "Dispelled Dreams" is clearly Gothenburg and "Fast I Fall" is a real thrash machine. That might also describe why all songs kick so much ass on this album - they are diverse AND like most debut albums it's a "best of" of all the material the band wrote before this album.

Cheers!
Passenger - 08.10.2008 at 17:25  
Written by Spyroid on 08.10.2008 at 00:12

I can't really believe what has become of this band... they're from my hometown and I've known the members for ages, and I've probably seen them live 25 times. I still remember their first gig. And now they have a record deal, people from Portugal write reviews about them and they are probably becoming the next big Swedish metal export... that's totally awesome!

Of course I like your review but there's one point where I don't really agree with you: "It's the sound of a band knowing exactly what they want and what to do to achieve it"

The band probably knows what they want to do now, now that they've formed a sound of their own. But it's easy to hear that songs on this album has been written over a long time (4 years) and with many different influences. "Afterlife" is almost black metal when "Alive" and "Believer" have a strong touch of power metal, "Dispelled Dreams" is clearly Gothenburg and "Fast I Fall" is a real thrash machine. That might also describe why all songs kick so much ass on this album - they are diverse AND like most debut albums it's a "best of" of all the material the band wrote before this album.

Cheers!

Yeah, ain't the internet a wonderful little thing?

Of course that some songs are faster, others slower, other have more keyboards, etc, but it's still a very consistent album. I had no idea some songs had been written so long ago!

Kudos!
Spyroid - 08.10.2008 at 17:32  
Written by Spyroid on 08.10.2008 at 00:12

Yeah, ain't the internet a wonderful little thing?

Of course that some songs are faster, others slower, other have more keyboards, etc, but it's still a very consistent album. I had no idea some songs had been written so long ago!

Kudos!


At least Believer and Alive are from 2005-something. I've heard Jimmy (who wrote most of the early material) is a real power metal fan, but apparently the other members got invited in the songwriting process after the first years
Btw, send a PM if you're interested in hearing some demos, I have permission to send it
HardSide - 01.01.2009 at 21:37  
With the growls, the songs are excellent, the more soft-touch vocals when you hear in "pure silence" reminds me of the bad era of in flames/soilwork. The guitar is good, the drums are good, but like i said, the whole soft vocals is getting overplayed especially with the bands now.
Until the End - 09.01.2009 at 14:32  
To be honest, the clean vocals aren't that bad compared to most bands who play this style of melodic death. Quite a lot of other bands sound like they've pulled their cleans straight from an American emo group.

That being said, the music would probably be better without them. It's the fact that they're used to sing repetative and silly lyrics which most annoys me. It's almost embarrasing to hear what he's singing.

"Hear me now when I am screamin', don't deny when you can't see me."

What? It's the fact that pretty much all the instrumentation cuts out so that all there is to hear are the vocals, thus increasing how silly it sounds.

The music other than that is pretty good.

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