Soul Demise – Thin Red Line (Apostasy Records)Friday, 12th May 2017
With all of the modern upticks and introduction of keyboards and clean vocal lines, it’s always nice to know that there are bands that you can depend on to deliver an authentic melodic death metal experience without all the current bells & whistles. Germany’s Soul Demise has been doing their best Gothenburg-inspired material for almost 20 years at this point, and return from a seven year absence with Thin Red Line.
Happily leaning to the thrashier and more aggressive side of the melodeath equation, Thin Red Line should come across as rather appealing for the At the Gates, older Soilwork, and The Duskfall fans in general. Guitar-driven melodies take centerstage across the album, providing some spectacular sights along the way. With the band frequently keeping things at faster tempos, songs like “Desperate Cry” and “Purity of Soul” use these melodies to allow the band to continue at these speeds without it feeling like a blur. The high-energy tempos give the album an edge that many melodic death metal bands tend to shy away from in recent years, and it’s refreshing to hear some in their true glory and not impeded by a poppy chorus. In other moments, more heavy-handed riffing like in “Glow of the Setting Sun” takes the tempos down to a bludgeoning groove, further cementing the heaviness of the style when it wants to be. The ending of “Frustration” unloads a groovy riff that’s nothing short of violent.
Basking in old school melodic death metal glory, there’s a passionate and intense vibe in Thin Red Line that makes it a joy to hear. Soul Demise have returned in a big way with this release, and while some may say that the heyday of this style has long since gone, this is further proof that a well-written melodeath album can still shake the windows and resonate with the listener.