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God Macabre - The Winterlong...
Review: In the same fusion of melodic neoclassical aspirations and the most hellishly distorted primitive rock music ever made that distinguished early releases from Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed, these Swedes unleashed a basic text of the Swedish death metal genre with an alert awareness of tone, dynamic and spatial relations between melodic placement and harmonic options. Like second-album Entombed much of this is halfway to British-style hardcore, with bounding power chord figures centering songs and E-chord choruses, and there is somewhat more of an awareness here but it is often buried in confusion and seemingly a desire to make a template for the genre.
Alert and radio-friendly in its catlike tempo and directional changes, the progress of songs emphasizes structures tangential to verse and chorus, while song configuration is arranged to give an oblique view of the emergence of central theme, a data hiding method which gives an anthemic impact to melodic hook used in inverted form to anchor rather than invoke attention. Fluctuating with dynamic, intensity pauses in a punchcard code of pentatonic resonances, finding a way to invoke pure rhythmic work within the heavy metal style as it builds its own negativity for exposition and concluding transitional material. Styles of progressive death metal and the more morbid movements within shorter doom metal pieces, mixed within this already dark setting material present a negative shadowing in which the absurdist operatics of riff textural recombination and rhythmic layering create brief associations with topic of song concept.
Choruses benefit the chants of cadenced hoarse shouts which vocalize the progress of rhythm in song, matching drums for percussive centering with consistent accents shaping a vocal phrase to basslike complement the phrase of guitar riff. Guitarists use standard power chords and rock structures in some unique ways but nothing that most death metal bands of the current time could not recreate with some effort. Once the initial contexture of ideas is presented, the band drift off into mostly predictable blasting metal riffs and a mishmash of emotional ideas and melodic variations on commonly known experiments, none of which quite fit but are sustained well by the course of momentum through the album.
Barring the impact of the gloriously abraded electric sound for which Sunlight Studios is known, the main inspiration to pick up and play this release is its sense of emotional framing to awkwardly extreme rockish pieces giving a voice to existential contemplation as songs bounce through explosive versions of classic variations. Easily near the top of this genre, this release combines degrees of mood with its outpourings of percussive rage and as a result is one of the few enduring releases from the briefly flourishing subgenre of Swedish death metal.