This is the year of Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal. With At the Gates, one of the founders of the genre, announcing both an album and a tour, fans are already frothing at the lip with expectation. It now appears that more good news is coming our way: Solution .45, the guitar driven, melodic death super group, have recently announced that they will be releasing not one but two albums this year.
01. Sad Ghost
02. Mad At Myself
03. Life of a Nine
04. The Langdon House
06. Old Dena
07. Stingray Affliction
08. Never Lose Your Flames
09. Personality Cult
10. Tears on the Runway, Pt. 2
11. The Settlement
12. Disappear (Remember When)
The union of metal and pop music is a polarizing thought, but it is certainly not a new development. Modern metal acts such as Scar Symmetry utilize simple song structures and highly accessible melodies for a more subtle blend, but there acts that are more straightforward in their intentions. Devin Townsend Project‘s albums Addicted! and Epicloud were both praised for the smart and seamless amalgam of pop and heavy metal, even after publicly citing Nickelback as a key influence. The Dillinger Escape Plan have even dabbled in overt pop-worship for years as well.
We’ve seen proof that the style can be pulled off with finesse, should the best aspects of both genres are utilized; there’s nothing inherently wrong with using downtuned guitars to write catchy and heartfelt music with soaring vocal hooks, so long as you do it with some intelligence and creativity. Issues is one such band that openly embraces the “pop metal” tag, but ultimately fails at creating a fun or interesting listening experience on their self-titled debut.
Melodic death metal turned “modern metal” archetypes Scar Symmetry have announced that their upcoming album was going to be the first in a series of three in a concept trilogy called The Singularity. The first in the series, Phase I: Neohumanity, is slated to be released later this year!
Per Nilsson, lead guitar virtuoso of legendary Swedish Melodeath band Scar Symmetry, and Floridian death metal band The Absence, have made joint announcements on Facebook concerning Per joining the band. According to Mr. Nilsson, he is already hard at work writing songs with the band. From the press release:
Tampa, Florida’s The Absence has announced that guitarist Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry has joined forces with the group. The band has already begun tracking for their new EP with James Murphy and will release a single from these efforts soon; keep your eyes peeled!
According to Per:
“Six years ago the guys asked me to do a guest solo for the “Riders” album and we’ve been friends ever since. I’ve followed their career as a fan and when they reached out asking me to join the band, it was a no-brainer. I am super excited to be a part of The Absence family; we’ve been jamming out some new tunes and I feel like we’ve got some killer stuff in the works for ya! Between Patrick and me, there’s gonna be some INSANE guitar shreddin’ on the new tunes!”
- Per Nilsson
Enemy Unbound, the last album The Absence released, was well received by both the press and the community, and the addition of Per on guitars can only mean a bright future for a criminally underrated band. No word yet on what this means for Scar Symmetry or Per’s role in the band, but it’s safe to assume they’ll continue on with or without him.
If you’re unfamiliar, Hateform are a band to keep an eye on in 2013. Featuring past members of Mors Principium Est, Hateform blend thrash, prog, and death metal for a package that should sit well among fans of Death, Revocation, and Obscura. Top shelf melodic death metal is getting harder to come by over the years, but Hateform are keeping the genre alive with technical guitar work and stellar songwriting. Their forthcoming new album Sanctuary In Abyss is seeing release through Spinefarm Records this March, but you can hear the first new track from the record ‘Perpetual Cold’ below:
Mixed and mastered by Thomas “Plec” Johansson (Watain, Scar Symmetry, Mors Principium Est) and featuring artwork from Jon Barmby (Architects, Devil Sold His Soul), Sanctuary in Abyss will see release March 1 (Europe) and March 6 (North America; Digital only) on Spinefarm Records. Visit Hateform on Facebook for more on the band and Sanctuary In Abyss!
I discovered Memfis based solely on the sweet, sweet artwork their 2011 release Vertigo had. I’ll give you a moment to wrap your brain around that geometric, pattern-laden nightmare. Got it? Alright. Vertigo is a sick blend of progressive tendencies, hardcore punk, groovy old school rock, and even a little keyboard-driven ambiance… because when you’re that talented, why the hell not? They’ve been hinting at some new material via pictures of them in the studio since late 2012, which leads me to assume they’ll be unleashing Dr. Memfistein’s monster on the world soon enough. I’d love to see them ramp it up to a whole new level of pure insanity for this record and finally get the recognition they deserve. Clue in to odd world of Memfis here on their Facebook.
01. Once Adreamed
02. Time To Let Go
04. The Unforsaken
05. En Knippa Ljung
Christian Älvestam’s name usually pops up in three separate categories of conversation; why Scar Symmetry was so much better or worse with him, how he manages to play a role in approximately four thousand good bands, or heated debates over his live performances. Now, surprisingly enough, his name can be safely worked into conversations dealing with pop music.
Despite clocking in at a little over 26 minutes, Self 2.0 manages to pack in more hooks than your average fishing trip, grabbing you right from the start with the synth-laden, twist-turn saxophone soloing, undeniably groovy ‘Once Adreamed.’ Much like the songs that come after it, the song provides memorable vocal melodies and well-thought out lyrics in the verses that gently push you along to the gargantuan chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for hours on end. The bonus about this seemingly formulaic approach to a pop song (and pop release) is that it never manages to rely on boring chord progressions, note choices, or instrumentation. Each song has its own unique signature that makes it stand out from the rest, but doesn’t set it too far apart where the release doesn’t flow as a singular work.
A couple of weeks ago, Scar Symmetry announced a North American tour featuring support from Threat Signal and Stealing Axion which was set to take off next weekend, but the band has hit a bit of a snag with getting their visas, so the tour has been cancelled. Here’s the word from the band’s Facebook page:
NORTH AMERICANS can we have your attention please!
It is with deep regret that we bring you these news: due to unforeseen problems securing our US work visas in time, our North American headlining tour will have to be cancelled. The waiting time for a visa interview appointment was several weeks longer than what we’ve experienced before. Our sincere apologies to Threat Signal, Stealing Axion, Lord of War and Kings Field – you guys rule and we do hope for the opportunity to share a stage with you sometime in a not-to-distant future instead!
To our fans… we will work our asses off to make this up to you! Expect to see Scar Symmetry back in North America in 2013 – back with a vengeance!
Bummer. Hopefully the band will make good on their promise to return to North America next year with a bit more in the terms of extensive itinerary.
Did you really expect Christian Älvestam (ex-vocalist of Scar Symmetry) to have done something that wasn’t fantastic? This is the man that had to have two vocalists fill his shoes in Scar Symmetry. The man who guests on every single album to ever be released and even manages to get a smash-hit electronica song in there with DJ Henrik B. The man with the most jealousy-inducing handlebar moustache ever. Now he’s cranking out astounding pop-flavored tunes on his solo EP, Self 2.0, which is for fans of artists like Michael Cretu (Enigma), Dead Letter Circus, Mute Math and Pendulum. If you’re still not convinced, here’s what Älvestam has to say-
It’s not exactly a secret that I have a weak spot for more pop-oriented stuff – especially in the vein of the sound of the ’80′s. In fact, I have always been listening to softer music, alongside the heavier stuff, which is probably why my own music so often, unintentionally, tends to end up being a mixture of the two. I simply can’t help myself when it comes to merging the aforesaid styles together, it seems. I’d like to call it unavoidable influence, as a direct result of having been indoctrinated with both, from childhood upwards. With that said, fighting against it is not an easy thing, whether you want to or not. At the same time, some would call it a mixed blessing I guess. Anyhow, I wanted to do something a bit different from what I usually do for a long time now and that is to make an all stripped-down and laidback album, where I use my clean vocals only. Those who have followed me since the early days know I’ve made brief digressions, musically, of that sort before, like the ‘Final State‘-trilogy (Unmoored) and ‘Lethean Tears‘ (Solution .45), to name a few, so it’s not like Self 2.0 is me heading out into completely unexplored territory. I’ve been there before, grubbing in its periphery. Then again, I guess you could see Self 2.0 as me going all the way for the first time, if you like!
Self 2.0 will be a digital-only release through Pivotal Rockordings on October 19th!
02. A Vow To Conquer The Ocean
03. From A Tidal Sleep
04. Celestial Tear
07. Isle Of Solace
08. The Drowning Sun
09. Voyage Of A Wavering Mind
Many years ago, Sweden gave heavy metal fans everywhere a new type of music to enjoy. From the likes of Dark Tranquility, At The Gates, and In Flames, melodic death metal soon took the metal community by storm. Slaughter of the Soul, some may argue, is THE melodic death metal record, one that will never be beaten and nearly impossible to match. Around the same time, Opeth was redefining death metal by including clean acoustic passages interwoven with blast beats and growling vocals comparative to some or the finest death metal out at the time. Many years later, bands like Daylight Dies and Elysian are carrying the torch alongside the godfathers of melodeath. One Swedish quintet, however, have taken the necessary steps to create what may be their own magnum opus in The Weight Of Oceans.