Review Summary: "Rotting Paradise" is a solid sophomore attempt by Coldworker and shows that their is life after Nasum for Anders Jakobson.
The death of a band member is always a huge turning point in a band’s career and can either lead to a complete change in the band’s sound or simply end the band altogether. After the career of Swedish grind forerunners, Nasum, was cut short by the tragic death of guitarist Mieszko Talarczyk in the Tsunami of December 2004, drummer Anders Jakobson decided that he wanted to continue playing music and made the choice to form another band. Roughly a year after the end of Nasum, through various recruiting sessions via the Nasum website’s blog, Coldworker was formed.
was the second full length album to be released by the band in 2008. Coldworker’s songwriting leans more toward death metal as opposed to the chaotic grind sound that Nasum employed. Regardless,the songwriting is still intensely done; a variety of technical, tremolo, melodic and buzz-saw guitar riffs are combined with precise drumming by Jakobson, consisting of technical double bass patterns, interesting drum fills and cymbal work as well as, of course, the obligatory blast beat. Despite being a performance which can be heard in other bands within the genre, Jakobson still manages to produce a strong backing to the band’s suffocating sound, which shows a little more restraint and consciousness than the drummer’s previous work.
The guitar work on Rotting Paradise
is enjoyable with both guitarists succeeding in their attempt to mix older school death metal themes with some more modern death metal influences and add a grindcore flavour without resorting to breakdowns or cheesy/misplaced clean interludes, as well as finding a medium between slower doom/sludge sections with the more frenetic, grindcore paced moments. There are also a number of lead guitar flourishes throughout the album, which are well placed and help to bring a little variety to the tracks. The solos show just enough technicality to be entertaining without becoming shred fests or self-indulgence exercises, as heard in the lead section of “Citizens of the Cyclopean Maze”. However, one negative aspect of the guitar work is that the guitarists occasionally fall back into generic Gothenburg melo-death riffs. In fact one riff in the aforementioned “Citizens of the Cyclopean Maze” is incredibly similar to the verse riff in “Suicide Nation” by At the Gates. However, these occurrences are rare and do not overly affect the enjoyability of the album.
Sadly, the bass parts mostly follow the root notes of the guitar and offer nothing additional to the sound except a solid backing. Although, even if they were anything innovative they are barely noticeable due to their low placing in the mix. Though, a noticeable break to this trend is in the intro to “Seizures”, which features just the bass and drums carving a solid rhythm for a short period before the guitars and vocals enter and the track begins its onslaught.
Joel Forbrant handles the band’s vocals and does a good job in matching his mid-range growls and gutturals to the instrumentation without taking the focus away from the technicality of it. Forbrant’s vocal style could be described as similar to Frank Mullen’s work in later era Suffocation, with a well judged balance between brutality and enunciation, which a lot of death metal vocalists struggle with attaining. Despite this well fitting vocal performance the lyrical content is the average death metal fare; death, destruction, mythology (what kind of mythology) and other dystopian themes. However, due to the powerful way the vocals are delivered, they are enjoyable and add an extra impact to the overall sound of the album. Although, it is possible some may feel that the lack in variation of vocal style makes the album drag during its final third.
Despite being nothing incredibly innovative or overtly technically proficient, Rotting Paradise
is a solid sophomore attempt by Coldworker and provides enough to interest and variety to appeal to both old school and modern death metal fans --and manages to do so without resorting to misconceived gimmicks-- while also providing enough entertainment to warrant decent replay value. The album also proves that the demise of Nasum could be the bearer of worthwhile positives amongst inevitable negatives.
Citizens Of The Cyclopean Maze
I Am The Doorway