The Absence
Riders of the Plague


3.5
great

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
August 28th, 2007 | 110 replies | 17,293 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While the idea is good, the actual music can get very repetitive.

I give credit to The Absence for trying to break the chains of the typical American metal sound. The country is awash with bands so similar you could hear two songs from completely different bands and think they are back to back from the same album. A sub-genre of metal which is almost entirely overlooked is melodic death metal, with pretty much every American Melodic Death band being toppled over by their Swedish brethren. The Absence though is breaking the chain and releasing an album which will attempt to put them on par with other, more prominent bands.

The formula is the standard melodic death style, with blistering solos, harmony-filled leads and technicality which is off the charts. This is where the first fault of The Absence's latest album Riders Of The Plague lies, they simply don't offer anything new to the genre, they don't attempt to modernize the sound (like Dark Tranquillity has done with their album Fiction earlier this year), they just play straight-up, no frills melodic death. Also in their distinct lack of innovation comes their first huge plus; they play their instruments with such precision and technicality it's impossible to absorb it all with just one listen. The furious solos, the mid-boggling harmonized leads, they ferocious vocals, the pounding drums, it all forms a really crushing (though sometimes serene) mood. Even the instrumentals are played with perfection. One side of me says "This album is brilliance in every sense of the word" while another says "This is simply another melodic death metal album". It's hard to decide which one is right, but right now there is no denying that this is indeed a monumental step forward for American Metal.

The obvious highlight of the album is the guitars. With every song comes a sound packed full of great riffs which are perfectly executed, along with some really shredding solos which will put a smile across the face of practically anyone. There are some acoustic guitars put in, like the beautiful intro to "The Murder", it's just a shame though that The Absence doesn't show off their acoustic talent in their instrumentals, because it would be a nice break from the constant electric guitar onslaught. The instrumentals on the album are just electric guitar, playing all-out constantly, it would be nice if they included a very calm acoustic instrumental to calm the listener down, making the emotional guitar leads all the more effective. Bass guitar is played fairly well, and is produced well, you can hear it if you listen for it, but nothing of particular interest is played with the bass. Drumming is very solid, with lots of great fills and double bass which adds a lot of variety while still maintaining the pace and the beat very well, the drums accompany the guitars perfectly.

The vocals sometimes make or break an album, and with Riders Of The Plague they do not disappoint at all. They are always screamed with a growl which is not too throaty and low but not really high-pitched, they fit the music well, and provide a great melancholic and depressive touch. It would be nice if there was some variance in the vocals, but with this genre there often isn't, which is perfectly fine with me, especially since the growled vocals are so damn good.

Riders Of The Plague is one of the more enjoyable melodic death metal albums I have heard in the past few years, it provides constant quality musicianship coupled with those fantastic vocals. Solo after solo will satisfy anyone who is craving guitars, but the distinct lack of creativity and innovation steals a lot of that sense of awe one gets when hearing something that has never been tried before. Each song has pretty much the same structure, and that makes most of the album a big blur. If you enjoy quality Melodic Death Metal, this is certainly a worthwhile purchase, but this is nowhere near the innovation or creativity required to put The Absence up there with the best of the best.



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user ratings (283)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
NahkedGunner (4.5)
The speed of Thrash plus the melodic riffery of Melodic Death equals a tasty treat for your ears....

Adam (4.5)
"The light shineth in darkness" (Gospel of John, 1:1-5). The darkness is the American melodic death...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2007



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I tried hard to like this enough to give it a 4.5, but I just can't do it.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

BallsToTheWall
August 28th 2007



44164 Comments


3.5 is appropriate. Good cd and pretty good review. Did you check out Chthonic yet?

Crimson
August 29th 2007



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, I agree with the rating, good review.

Pebster49
August 29th 2007



2991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I found that this album was better than Fiction...this album is very good, but nothing too crazy awesome that makes my eyes bug out, good review.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2007



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the comments guys. I didn't think this album was anywhere near a 5.

Did you check out Chthonic yet?


Yes I did, it was really good stuff. Very different, but really good, I like the vocals a lot.

Wizard
August 29th 2007



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Crysis,
I really enjoyed your honest approach to this review and album. If I'm reading a review and it suddenly turns into fanboy gibberish, I stop reading it. I found this to be an average album, nothing special. Their are definitely some redeeming qualities on this album, such as the leads and solos, but the formula is starting to wear thin. By the way also, Fiction dominated this album! This Message Edited On 08.29.07This Message Edited On 08.29.07

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

FR33L0RD
August 29th 2007



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MDM i didnt know, i might like this

btw, good review Crysis

Dethtrasher
August 29th 2007



2211 Comments


I heard a song from this band on the radio a few weeks ago. Reminded my of generic death/thrash. But I don't know what the track was or from what album it came from. Good work on the review, but I will probably not check this out. The art cover is great though.

Crimson
August 29th 2007



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The cover art is my desktop background at the moment, looks awesome.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2007



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The cover it is insane, I love the album title too, "Riders Of The Plague" sound so sweet.

Zoo
August 29th 2007



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mad good review. A whole lot better than mine. Nice job, Crysis. You've got my vote.


Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2007



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mad good review. A whole lot better than mine. Nice job, Crysis. You've got my vote.


Wow, thanks a lot man! I'd thought you would be mad since you love this album so much :D

I tried to highlight the really good parts of this album and point out it's weak spots without being fanboy-ish or overly aggressive.

FukuiSan
August 30th 2007



179 Comments


Nice review, i'll check them out.

Thor
September 4th 2007



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty sick album. One of the better metal albums I've heard this year.This Message Edited On 09.04.07

Zoo
September 4th 2007



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=Thor]One of the better metal albums I've heard this year.[/quote]

Damn straight.

CoRpSeSlAyEr
September 10th 2007



855 Comments


I was listening to a song off of this album and my brother was like, "they sound exactly like Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium."

HA!

Zoo
September 10th 2007



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am embarassed for you that you are related to such an idiot.

Eakflanderyof
September 11th 2007



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The songs I've heard from these guys are fairly good, but they all sound very similar. Kinda generic too. But still, pretty good for modern melodic death.

Zoo
September 11th 2007



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That was me being nice. The fact that anyone would put The Absence in the same sentence with those bands disgusts me.

Crimson
September 11th 2007



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't get enough of 'Echoes', seriously turning into one of my all time favourite songs.



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