The best part of writing about music for Heavy Blog is being exposed to brand new bands and artists. You get a much better understanding of how bands can grow and evolve if you were there at the beginning. Sure, that can sometimes mean you get a promo from a band that really has no idea what they’re doing or creating a sound that’s extremely derivative of some other band. But sometimes you get a record from a new band that has a focus on what they want to do. They might still be honing their craft, but the sound is original and focused on what the artist wants to produce. Sweeping Death is just that kind of band, and In Lucid is just that kind of album.
The Wildsteig, Germany quintet plays a very European style of metal: progressive, melodic, and bordering on thrash. The riffs are absolutely delicious but not showy for the sake of it. All of it serves the songwriting in the style of prog metal bands. It’s flashy and fun when it needs to be. All of it, however, is interesting to listen to. This record is equal parts Megadeth and Blind Guardian. The combination of technical progression along with Euro-style operatic flashiness makes it a very satisfying combo.
To wit, “Suicide of a Chiromantist” is an excellent example of Sweeping Death’s progressiveness. It covers a lot of ground in ten minutes. It begins with the big prog metal sound with some very talented vocal stylings from Elias Witzigmann. During the bridge, there is some equally great guitar work from both Simon Bertl and Markus Heilmeier. The two know their roles well and are able to play off each other in very melodic ways. The song is excellently structured as you would expect from any grizzled veteran of the progressive metal scene. For a young band such as this one, you would expect a far clumsier effort. Sweeping Death is able to pull it off with aplomb.
On a similar note, we should talk about dual threat Tobias Kasper. On top of being a great drummer, Kasper also provides the piano for Sweeping Death. The keys break through on a lot of tracks where there are fewer drums, which definitely makes sense for their live show. But Kasper plays with a serenity you wouldn’t think belongs on a metal record. On “Purpose,” there is a lot of gravitas to his playing that helps connect the two tracks it’s sandwiched between. As you’re making your way through the record, don’t skip over it. It’s a beautifully crafted and wonderfully played solo piano track that shouldn’t be missed.
Super serious prog metal isn’t the only thing this bad is capable of. Don’t let song structure and solo piano songs fool you. This band can rip it, too. “Horror Infernal” is a super fun and riffy track that really shows off how dirty metal they can get with acrobatic riffing, chugging power chords, and dirty vocals. It’s a great track to introduce yourselves to the world, and you might not hear a more fun riff this year.
Overall, this is a pretty cool record to hear a progressive metal band start out. Rarely do you get the opportunity to hear where a big sound like that can start, and Sweeping Death is an excellent example of that. There’s a bright future for the band if it keeps playing to its strengths that you hear on this record: good songwriting, complex guitar acrobatics, and the extreme talent each member has. Jump onboard before they get too big.
In Lucid is out October 5th and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.