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The Absence - Riders of the Plague

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by TheTechnogoat, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. TheTechnogoat

    TheTechnogoat Protean

    Jun 20, 2005
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    The Absence - Riders of the Plague
    Metal Blade Records - SPVCD085 - 13 August 2007
    By Jack Deming


    Up for review is the American metallers The Absence's sophomore effort, Riders of the Plague, one that since its release has propelled them to the forefront of the up and comers in American metal music.

    This is a strong piece of Melodic death metal with a self proclaimed "European influence" that is engaging from start to finish and catchy in all the right bits, even if there is an ever so subtle metalcore touch underneath it all (admittedly, this quality may only be heard by those such as myself who despise Metalcore to the point where they start to hear it everywhere). Still, I've found that this is by and large slightly inevitable when an American band plays this brand of metal, and if this turns you off, just think of it as metalcore as it was meant to be, because it is not a bad thing in this context. The rhythm guitars have a visible In Flames/Nevermore influence that contrasts pounding, meter driven riffs with melodic undertones and a bit of dissinent harmony, all over fairly straightforward drumming that trades between straight double bass lines and blast beats. Peter Joseph's nimble lead guitar work in particular will leave many listeners and guitar nerds hitting the rewind button in disbelief.

    This is generally the point in the review when I would make a snide comment about the lack of originality that comes with a band playing largely by the numbers in a certain genre, as this particular band does. However, The Absence are a rare case in which a band is in fact so proficient at doing things by the numbers that they are enjoyable to the extent that they come into their own, a point where I as listener and critic couldn't care less that I've heard similar sounding bands before. The song structures are sequential and slightly calculated, and there are solo sections on which Nevermore and Iron Maiden are likely to hold copyrights. But it's all damn good.

    Riders of the Plague is one of the most enjoyable bits of fresh melodic death that has reached my ears this year. The Absence do what they do exceedingly well, which is more than can be said for the multitudes that share their general niche. Check it out.

    Official The Absence Myspace
    Official Metal Blade Records Website

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