Rise to Fall – Defying the Gods (Coroner Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Methinks most melodic death metal bands don’t want to sound over-produced…but they do it anyway. They do it because it feels right or there’s an overriding precedent (see: mid-00’s In Flames and Soilwork). Combine that with a squeaky-clean image complete with faux-hawks, puffy winter jackets, and short haircuts, and it’s no wonder why so many rail against certain segments of melodic death metal. It’s as if they find reasons for elitist metalheads to dislike them.

Spain’s Rise to Fall have the sparkling clean melodic death metal sound down to a science on their sophomore Defying the Gods, which was produced by Disarmonia Mundi mastermind Ettore Rigotti. Rigotti’s sonic stamp is all over the thing and it sounds exactly like the last few DM albums, minus some vocals from Soilwork’s Speed Strid. This is of course, brings forth the notion of how incestuous melodic death metal is…a band like Rise to Fall probably didn’t need to rack their brain very hard for compositional and production ideas.

The songs on Defying the Gods have the necessary pop swagger to them, and are pumped up by hyper melodies, like on the very catchy “The Compass” and “Inflexible Kingdom.” Singer Dalay Tarda jumps between a discernible rasp and keyed-up clean vocals, resulting in plenty of good cop/bad moments like on “Ascend to the Throne,” “Lost in Oblivion” and “Decoding Reality.” If you really want to get granular, Rise to Fall sounds (sonically) very similar to Come Clarity-era In Flames, but with better clean vocals. Sorry Anders.

Melodic death metal’s sleek threshold is being pushed to the bring by bands like Rise to Fall. It makes sense, for when the sound first hit, it was simply a method of disguising classic metal ala Maiden and Thin Lizzy in the form of death metal. Now, it’s as if some of these groups are trying to disguise pop music in melodic death metal. What could possibly be next?

www.myspace.com/risetofallmetal

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)