Review Summary: This album is too short. Damn.
Christian Älvestam has been keeping busy since he got kicked out of Scar Symmetry. Having already been bandmates with the multi-faceted Jani Stefanovic, he got enrolled in an awesome, brutal melodic death metal project soundly called The Few Against Many. This band is freaking great. There is big chance, that what they're doing is at last something NEW after years of bands mimicking one another. What is it, you ask? It's melodic death metal gone brutal, with Edge of Sanity-ish keyboards and compelling symphonic tastes. You listen to this short album and you finally realize why the genre is called melodic, and why is it called death metal.
, yeah? The songs are all fast, brutal, and generally relentless, only two of which being sung in English, the rest in Swedish. Audible influences are early Soilwork (i mean the band in its good, early days), and classical death metal from the States, like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and co. The melodies are dark and somber, yet very catchy and enjoyable. The opening track "Hädanfärd" takes no delay in relentlessly punishing you, the followup "Bränd Mark" is calmer, but more symphonic and reflexive. After that we get "Blod", one of whose riffs is the reason I listed Soilwork in their influences, and that song's probably what would Soilwork have sounded like had they not sold out. The next song "Skapelsens Sorti" has one of the most headbangable verse riffs out there. Then there's the title track monster, "Sot". Meaning "soot" in Swedish (soot is powder carbon - for the total dumbasses). A track of many motiffs, this one is probably the best all-around, as expected from a title track. The next two songs, "Abider" and "Heresi" are almost purely death metal, with the second one displaying slight traces of melodicity, and finally we witness "One With The Shadow", which is probably a track about a werewolf. This one is really weird, neither is it doom nor black, but sure as hell it's eerie (starts and ends with said werewolf howling), sports a nice pianistic motiff and stands out because of it being slower than the rest.
The production is crystal clear - too much so, perhaps, for the tastes of some. The drums are nice and organic sounding (no goddamn frying pan snares, thank heavens), the guitars have that distinct Swedish edge. My friend who loves American death metal said that "the guitars are beeping in the Swedish way, and I don't like it" - and he had a point. I'm not one of the death metal fans that insist on muffled production, but that of this album sometimes borders on artificialized, even plastic. It's just unique, that's for sure. As of Christian's growls - they don't even need a commentary, as they are probably his most savage grunts to date. The compositions are well thought through of course, you can't go wrong if you only have eight songs on a cd - the listeners that value quality over quantity are in for a treat.
Pros of this album:
- relentless yet melodic
- very catchy
- awesome keyboards
- Christian's growls
- quite atmospheric
Cons of this album:
- can quickly exhaust its awesomeness if you listen too much
- too damn short
- production can be taken as too sterile
- I cannot hear Pär Johansson anywhere, even though he's in the credits as a backing vocalist. Damn, the guy has a distinct voice and I'd know immediately if I heard him!