Cryogen – Continuum (Dark Millenium Records)Sunday, 1st December 2013
With many established European melodic death bands going the commercial route, “evolving” their sound into that cliché heavy verse/soft chorus pattern that many have tired of years ago, there have been a number of under the radar American bands that have honored the fine tradition of keeping the “death” in melodic death alive. Allegaeon, Arsis, and The Absence may come to mind but Colorado’s Cryogen will soon be a staple reference to add to that list.
Firmly grounded with an older In Flames sense of melody with the grit of homegrown American metal like Lamb of God and the aforementioned The Absence, Continuum is the sixth release from these long-standing metallers and seems to be on point to finally put them on the map. Last year’s acquisition of Allegaeon’s Greg Burgess seems to be the missing link, and Continuum is loaded with generous helpings of thrashy and often technical riffs, stellar soloing and leads, and some harmonies that will make you question whether if they had been born in Gothenburg and snuck into the States at an early age.
What seems to put Cryogen at their best though, is their usage of some subtle synths and orchestrations on a few tracks. “Exit Strategy,” “Continuum” and particularly “Rama I/II” (based on Arthur Clarke’s works) are elevated to a more epic-sounding status with this additional atmosphere. It’s also used in a way that blends in, without taking away from the rest of the instrumentation. If they could find a way to work it in to more songs without taking away from its effect and sounding cliche, they could be on to something huge.
Cryogen is a band that has taken their lumps and slowly progressed through the scene over the years. Continuum has the potential to elevate their status significantly if word of mouth gets around.