Saturday, July 2, 2011

Underrated Melodeath Gems

Cenotaph is a Mexican death metal band that was the precursor to The Chasm. I have covered them a couple of times in recent series. Although their later releases were more of a straightforward raw death metal, this release actually bears a striking resemblance to early At The Gates material. It is present in the dark, ominous atmosphere and in vocalist Edgardo Gonzalez's manic screams. Perhaps the most shocking thing is that this was released in 1994 in Mexico, around the same time as the Gothenburg scene was rising, but half a world away.

Dawn of Tears is a terrific melodeath band from Spain. They are a bit closer in sound to Finnish band Insomnium in that their music is more emotionally powerful and possesses a somber atmosphere. Dawn of Tears is a bit more diverse than some melodeath bands in that their songs are easily distinguishable, the vocalist does not limit himself to just one style of vocals, and the music is driven by the guitar riffs and leads. This is the band's only full-length so far and I am eagerly anticipating more.

Gardenian is actually from Gothenburg, but somehow flew completely under the radar in the scene, which is kind of a shame because Gardenian is at least the equal of Soilwork, who did achieve a lot of success. Gardenian's sound is very heavy melodic death metal, but the band occasionally breaks and plays acoustic parts or cleaner riffs. This causes those sections to really stand out from the rest of the heavier material. The band does feature some of the standard good cop/bad cop vocals and catchy melodies that people deride melodeath for, but this is an outstanding example of the genre done right.

I would like to say that the only reason Night in Gales is not more well-known is because they formed in Germany instead of Sweden. I would like to say that, but look at Gardenian above. They are not the most original band in the world, preferring to stick pretty close to the structure laid out by the Gothenburg bands, but the songs are infectious and interesting, making this an often overlooked melodeath gem. The title track in particular is incredible.

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