Review Summary: "The light shineth in darkness" (Gospel of John, 1:1-5). The darkness is the American melodic death metal scene, and the light.......The Absence.
In the midst of a fading American melodic death metal scene, The Absence
arrives as the genre's messiah and, like the healing of the blind man, Riders of the Plague
stands as a testament to that bold
The Redeemers of American melodeath are
Jamie Stewart - Vocals
Peter Joseph - Guitar / Bass (tracks 2, 4, 10, 11)
Patrick Pintavalle - Guitar / Bass (tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12)
Jeramie Kling - Drums
From beginning to end, this album is full of catchy leads that are hurled at you faster than your brain can process. The first track, Riders of the Plague
, reminds the listener of I, Deceiver
off of From Your Grave
. It throws you right in the thick of things with thrashy riffs and brutal vocals. This is a substantial change of pace from their first album which provides an Intro
to let the listener know what he or she is about to experience. This pace continues with Dead and Gone
, the album's first single, this time throwing in a few squeals reminiscent of the late, great Dimebag Darrell.
gives the listener a bit of a rest as the first twenty-nine seconds are occupied by a beautiful, Middle-Eastern-esque acoustic intro courtesy of Patrick Pintavalle. The album's second single then tosses the listener back in the fire as Jamie comes in:
"The gathering now of storms within
That whip and rip the stead, joined at the head
Dying to make ready the deliverance to the land
The swarming devourers, the murder"
Two minutes later, the listener is greeted by a truly unforgettable set of four solos that pair Peter and Patrick with the likes of Santiago Dobles (Aghora
) and Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry
). The solos are followed by the vocal and lyrical equivalent by Jamie:
"Towers fall into the fire
And razored hails of glass and steel
Brought down by stabs of rage without fear
Gashed hearts worked deep who refuse to hear"
is a great example of the alternating leads and true melodiousness that is so typical of The Absence
. And, as always, another great set of solos from Peter and Patrick. The album continues with World Divides
which is chocked-full of great leads and noticeable drums that keep the song on track.
A slight change-of-pace lies in Prosperity
which is strictly an instrumental track and is extremely well-produced. Everything in this song is as audible as it as euphonic.
is yet another masterpiece and is one of my personal favorites of the album. Beginning with an incredibly addictive lead by Peter, the song comes into its own as Jamie roars:
"We are all withered away in this suffered position
With the choke of truth
The long unseen, the short believed
If this is enough I'll distance my hands
From Heaven's touch
I cannot believe my eyes are seeing
The breach of ours undone
Because the road to Hell has become far too long"
A few more solos accompany Jamie's vocals, most notably by James Murphy (who has recorded with Testament
, and Obituary
). Certainly one of the more memorable solos on the album.
Much like World Divides
is another typical example of The Absence's melodic prowess. The longest (actual) song on the album also focuses a bit more on the lyrical aspect than previous tracks. Jamie's growls, preceded by a tranquil, nineteen second intro lead by Patrick, is as follows:
"I will not bear the watch while the animated sadness releases
A cyanide touch for us
So utterly devastating its measure glides
The breath that is born of behemoth size
Unveiled exhumed when everything twists into form
For you to see all in a perilous mourn
With long relentless devotion
The grant of these open wounds and this heartless rip
The drains are waiting for the loss of your blood"
More great lyrics in this track are shadowed by another captivating set of leads by Patrick and Peter.
Into the Pit
is The Absence's
spectacular cover of one of Testament's
many treasures. The song's vibe is savagely evocative of its title, literally throwing you "into the pit". I can honestly say that this is the best band on band cover of a song that I have ever heard.
One look at the lyrics of The Victorious Dead
and it is obvious it is a true battle track. Just before a set of three solos by Patrick, Peter, and Jonas Kjellgren (Carnal Forge
, Scar Symmetry
), Jamie screams the chorus:
"Something inside us fades
When weakness turns into trying
We all must carry on
For the slaughtered and the dying"
The last track, Outro
, is a bit on the interesting side. The first two-and-a-half minutes are another instrumental masterpiece which is then followed by almost four minutes of silence. With only forty seconds left of the album, an answering machine message plays with a guy repeatedly saying "I'll find you".
Riders of the Plague
Into the Pit