Neaera – Ours is the Storm (Metal Blade Records)

Tuesday, 30th April 2013
Rating: 7/10

Forever linked for a multitude of reasons, Neaera and Heaven Shall Burn are hitting the metal public with new albums in the span of two months. Now, it’s entirely possible the bands don’t keep tabs on what each other is doing, but based on the unmistakable sonic similarities, you’d think the label heads would purposely delay the release of one or the other. Everyone is fighting for the same piece of the pie, right? Separation, people.

Ours is the Storm is the sixth album from the Germans, furthering their exploitation of the sub-melodic death metal sound they’ve grown to embody since their nascent early 00’s days. If the listener was unaware of the band’s German origins, then shouts of Gothenburg would be in tow, which amounts to songs like the title track, “Through Treacherous Flames,” and “My Night is Starless” having the look of At the Gates gone hardcore. Oh, wait – it’s the inverse here.

The barrage of glossy chugs, double-bass, and Benjamin Hilleke’s rabid vocals might make for some intense moments (see: “Black Tomb”), but they also serve as a reminder of how one-dimensional Neaera is. And when you bundle these guys and Heaven Shall Burn together, put them next to the forerunners of the melodic death metal style, it’s no wonder buzz around Neaera has never amounted to anything more than the occasional whisper.

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