First of all, when weighing an album’s merits there’s a very important question I pose, “Can this get me pumped up while playing video games?”. Yes, yes it can. That’s an automatic 3+ at least.
When I first listened to this album my first thought was “These guys play like legitimate Swedes,” Which is quite a feat given that they’re a homegrown Aussie band. A lot of non-Swedish bands try and play Swedish metal and end up like Justin Bieber trying to perform Napalm Death songs; mildly funny, not very authentic and a bit depressing. These guys nail it though. Think Come Clarity era In Flames with a little bit of early Soilwork and mild metalcore leanings.
There’s really no weak tracks here, four full spins of the album later and I’m still not finding anything that I want to skip or cut short. Every suit is strong too, both clean and harsh vocals are competent and demonstrate a solid range on James Ash’s part. The instrumental side of things is very cohesive and at no point do I get the impression that any of the guitarists aren’t on the same page or are trying to duel each other. They manage to both put forward some truly moving melody and also produce fist pumping, blood igniting pummelfests that could induce some spectacular injuries in a mosh pit. The drum work is precise and on point, contained enough not to overwhelm but generous enough to never leave a chorus wanting.
It’s hard to choose highlights here, Drones opens things up nicely with an aggressive pounder that should see your head nodding subconsciously. Dirge is a stunning instrumental that puts forward a good case that metal doesn’t have to be lightning fast to be powerful. Unmasked and Walk the Streets both provide epic choruses that may lead you to embarrass yourself in a traffic jam with the windows down. Reveries closes things off nicely with some grinding thrash grooves mixed with some more singalong moments.
They may not have reinvented the wheel or brought anything new to the table, but there’s something to be said of performing ones craft well. This is a band that I personally think has a bright future ahead of it.
4 out of 5.