From metalcore to technical death metal, these are albums I truly think stand out above the rest. Albums that I listen to on a regular basis because they’re original, executed well or even both. They may not be front-to-back perfect and they may not be for everyone, and perhaps many of you will find that you disagree. Nevertheless, these are albums I think people should at least give a listen.
So week 2! And with week 2 I present to you a wonderful slab of melodic death metal. Archons‘ debut release The Consequences of Silence is truly the living embodiment of what melodic death metal should be. In recent years, MDM has fallen to shit with many acts resorting to metalcore influence and streamlined sound. Fortunately, Archons is one of the few who have stayed true to its roots.
The album starts off with an intro track, laying down some industrial sounds over a faint lead guitar before the next track rapes your speakers with its At the Gates riffing and pulverizing double bass/blast beat work. Then you’re met with Sébastien Audet, the vocalist. If you are a fan of Dark Tranquillity, you will fall in love with this guy. The man sounds very similar to Mikael of DT with his raspy growls and delivery. I could see this as being an issue for people who dislike DT, but the man fits so well with this style of music that it’d be hard to find a suitable replacement. He is not blaring over the music 24/7 so you can appreciate the power he brings when he’s on the mic but still applaud the music when he’s not. The greatest thing is that he sounds like Mikael Stanne without actually BEING him. They have their differences and that’s a very good quality. His weakest point is probably his low growls that he does from time to time, which really aren’t low enough to have a huge impact, but it’s not exactly a hindrance. But! Is he as good as Mr. Stanne? I think so.
As you progress through the album, you’ll be greeted with a lot of rich riffs. They are very At the Gates sounding so any fans will instantly find themselves pleased with the guitar work. The most satisfying of all, though, is the leads. The influence on the leads really brings me to Slaughter of the Soul era At the Gates. You won’t find carbon copies of the melodies you would hear on, say, In Flames‘ The Jester Race so it’s hard to call Archons just melo-death band. The thrash influence is too prominent here that they really deserve a genre of something along the lines of technical thrash-influenced melodic death metal. Silliness aside, the leads are not bad in any sense (this is coming from a guy who doesn’t like thrash), but do not expect the colorful melodies in the light of old In Flames. The melodies are beautiful in their own way and the “widdly widdling” (so-to-say) is, for the most part, constructed well enough to not be pretentious. There are also a lot of melodic breaks featuring some great acoustic guitar that surprisingly doesn’t lose the atmosphere of the album. This could be a bad thing for some people, only adding monotony, but that’s really up in the air. The biggest fault with the guitars is the lack of solos. While there are a few, they aren’t memorable enough and the ones that do sound more like an extensive lead.
The bass guitar is, for the most part, inaudible. It’s a shame because I know some jazzy bass in the melodic breaks could have really added some diversity to the album. However, the drumming makes up for it. Christian Poulin is a phenomenal drummer that can play at all tempos. His style relies heavily on pinpoint, precise transitions backed up by machine gun double bass. He is able to stop on a dime, play something simple, then return to a barrage blast beats. If you are not a fan of the actual music, you will be impressed by how good this guy is. The precision here is so incredible that this guy is way up there in my favorite metal drummers. Unfortunately, this style is extremely narrow and you’re left with almost nothing but it. Which leads me to my next point…
… the flaws on this album. The biggest one is monotony. After many listens, you will notice the difference between songs, but initially you will find yourself struggling to see the diversity. The riffs all follow the same structure, there is no difference in vocal styles and the drumming is, as I stated, one-dimensional. No song is really consistent with its tempo (except “Plague of Corruption“) so you may find the album as a blur of seamless transitions. It’s really towards the last half of the album that the music may grind your nerves. The transitions seem more out of place, the pinch harmonics really start to get old (especially with a lack of different guitar techniques like tapping or sweeping), the drumming rarely changes and the lack of diversified riffs really starts to test your limits with repetitiveness. Are the riffs generic? No, but it’s the same style for the whole album and some may find this as a big letdown considering the musicianship of these guys.
People must realize no album is perfect. There will always be flaws. That being said, I see The Consequences of Silence having few fans in the middle. You either love the style or you hate it. I personally love the fuck out of it. It may be hard to digest and you may find the monotony burdensome, but if you aren’t worn down by it, you will find a gem in this release. Clear production really helps, too. If Archons takes more influence from other bands and implements more playing styles, I could really see their next release being a magnum opus.
Here’s my personal favorite from the album:
All in all, if you’re a fan of melo-death that’s progressive and thrashy, this album will please you. It’s very technical, very precise and well… very good. Give it a shot!