dEMOTIONAL – Scandinavian Aftermath (AFM Records)

Monday, 22nd May 2023
Rating: 7.5 / 10

In today’s modern metal marketplace, exposure is king. The court of public opinion has more weight than ever – especially through the social media/ streaming options available to all at their fingertips. Establishing over 15 million streams, numerous live shows/tours, plus conventional radio airplay, Swedish act dEMOTIONAL have made an impression through their first three albums – setting the stage for signing to AFM Records for this fourth effort Scandinavian Aftermath. With sixteen tracks to pour through, listeners can rest assured that you’ll hear all facets to their sound that incorporates melodic death, groove/modern hooks, Viking aspects all the way to modern hard rock/clean chorus work that could gain traction in a variety of heavy touring situations.

Employing a dual screaming/clean vocalist template along with two guitarists ensures maximum versatility plus twin harmony possibilities against the bouncy rhythms that service all needs of the track at hand. Wasting no time getting into a cyber-infused modern metal mode for the title track, the stunted rhythms against Christopher Kristensen’s lacerated screams gives Nils-Petter Nilsson a chance to sneak in with his natural clean melodies, giving off a bit of a classic Nickelback/Alter Bridge vibe. In Flames/Gothenburg circular guitar/drum motions fuel “My Own Enemy”, while the ethereal keyboards contrast brilliantly against a steady wall of punishing staccato-driven tones for “Boiling Point”, taking the Bad Wolves platform into a European finesse blender. At times the Amaranthe-style keyboard dance weaves around stunted guitar parts, encouraging the good cop/bad cop vocal tradeoffs as the chorus is vintage commercial-ready fare (check out “Fear of Success” or “Cornered” in this regard). Using guest vocalists Matt Guillory and Jenny Fagerstrand on the dramatic “My Heart” colors the arrangement in its airy verses to heavier chorus / instrumental sections, the harmonization and speedy lead break tugging at every fiber of your being.

The record could have benefitted from a little trimming – it’s not that these songs aren’t sharp or concise, but sixteen songs with an almost hour playback time can be a bit excessive when maybe twelve tracks would do. Nonetheless, those who seek out more modern metal that isn’t from the US will probably take a look into dEMOTIONAL with Scandinavian Aftermath.

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