Creinium – Project Utopia (Inverse Records)Wednesday, 30th April 2014
Somewhere along the way, bands decided to ditch Gothenburg as their prime influence and head back for Stockholm. Although truth be told, there are no blatant “Gothenburg-isms” present in Project Utopia, it’s the type of album that would fill many a melodic death metal fan’s heart with joy. There are plenty of go-getter melodies here, while the music tries to takes turns trying to both endear and pummel you. The upcoming Meadows End album seems to keep clamoring up as a recent reference point here as both do their best with symphonic/melodic death metal, though Creinium’s brand feels less epic in scope and more sci-fi in nature.
Hence the name Project Utopia, this EP is conceptually based, with the idea of a man-made paradise being the focal point. The heavy usage of synths does well for the story, and as mentioned already, adds to the sci-fi flair. Of the four “true” tracks (“Societal Collapse” sets the stage as an intro with some spoken word), the guitars rightly retain their position as the leaders of the pack for much of the album. Dynamics and focus are key with a concept album and Creinium sets the table nicely with varied tempos, from somber atmospheres to mid-tempo melodies and headbanger riffs to speedy, black metal inspired segments, sometimes within the same track. Even with tracks scaling to near 10-minutes, nothing ever seems bloated and there is fluidity within each song.
There are no real missteps along the way through Project Utopia. Alas, its only fault is really how familiar everything feels. Sure, there are some little nuances here and there, but symphonic death metal in and of itself really has but a few avenues of progress. That being said, Project Utopia is an album that will charm the pants off anyone into the genre and there is always something to be said for a concept album that makes good on it’s concept.