Review Summary: ripping apart the melodic death metal scene
The Great Northern Scenekill is the sort of classic yet relevant release that is a perfect example of how to do 'melodic death metal' well. In it's 44 minute playtime you are barraged with countless thrashy riffs, treated to a simply awesome vocal performance and graced with a great sense of tempo and dynamics. The true beauty in this release is not in any specific stand out aspect (though the vocal performance is a personal highlight) but in the solidarity and general strength that flows throughout the album.
That's not to say that it can be looked upon as just another 'good melodic death metal allbum', that's the thing with Senate. Whereas many bands play a subdued, poppy and generic style of the genre that suffers from a lack of 'death' in the 'metal' Senate really go out all guns blazing on every song on TGNS. The melodic leads and catchy melodies are still there, but they're performed within the context of a very aggressive and thrashy style that really sets the band out from their less dynamic and interesting peers. Driven by complex and intense drum work the tempo usually sticks to brutally fast but throughout the album varies at several memorable and interesting moments. Riffs on the album vary from thrashy and heavy riffs to more traditional melodic death metal melodies and and tremolo picked rhythms, its wonderfully varied within a metal context and constantly keeps the listener on their toes.
But one of the real strength's the band has that gives them a huge amount of memorability is the vocalist. The guy is a beast. Capable of awesome growls and vicious shrieks he is constantly doing stuff with his voice. Be it with overdubbing several layers of different vocals ala something similar to Heaven Shall Burn's vocalist or varying the pitch and tempo of his voice during the verses there's a constant release of energy and inventive vocal patterns coming from his mouth. His performance makes some of the flaws of the album seem a lot less important, such as some of the songs dragging just slightly and the slightly repetitive nature of the middle half of the album. Of course, he doesn't outshine the rest of the band (they're too solid and tight a bunch to really have any weak aspects) but he helps give a brilliant aspect to their music. It all just fits together really well, the thrashy and aggressive music coupled with the vicious and interesting vocals simply shows up most of the melodic death metal scene that the band are involved in, but as the vocalist screams in the opening verse of Anti it's all about the music and not the scene, and amen to that.
“You’re one and the same / We’re Anti Rose city hardcore scene / Anti St Kitts Emo queens / Anti fashion society / And all y’all profess to be“