Ablaze my Sorrow – Black (Apostasy)

Monday, 15th August 2016
Rating: 6.5/10

The Swedes in Ablaze my Sorrow return with Black, their first full length album in 14(!) years. Back in the day, they were a rather promising melodic death metal act and could probably have reached the higher echelons within the genre if they had stuck with it. Their debut album If Emotions Still Burn was very much a product of the mid-90’s when the production was still in an experimental phase and the melodic Gothenburg scene was gaining momentum. The band’s subsequent albums also found their niches within the sound of their time. Not so with Black, unfortunately.

Black is an album that tries to be hard-hitting, modern metal yet in touch with the band’s roots. It has a lot of great riffs and catchy melodies. The downside is that they are stuck in a style between their old melodeath and a core-ish modern style. The riffs include various breakdowns and parts that try to fit into that modern sound, but come off as something that might have sounded cool to kids 15 years ago who just discovered there was a world outside of their nu-metal realms. Tracks like the Swedish-lyric “Tvåenighet” with it’s bouncy rhythm and clean vocal chorus are really not the domain of this band. It’s jarring compared to the more traditional melodeath tracks of the album and the album as a whole would have gained a lot by leaving this particular track out.

While on the note of things that could be better, the vocals really aren’t up to the standards of the genre. In parts they come through strong and rather impressive, but there are just too many places that they verge on being hoarse and lose their edge completely. It is a shame since tracks like “Send the ninth plague” and “The Storm” feature some great vocal parts which makes me think it’s not for a lack of skill.

The music is otherwise well played, many of the songs are well written and have some interesting twists and turns, such as in the fist-pumper ”When all is…” and the twin-guitar burner “Blood Heritage.” Great melodies abound throughout Black and this makes me think it could have been a great album if just a bit more time had been put into fixing the stuff that is now lacking. Still, fans of melodic death metal should get some kicks out of this.

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