Neaera - "Omnicide - Creation Unleashed" (CD)
"Omnicide - Creation Unleashed" track listing:
01. I Loathe
02. Prey to Anguish
03. The Wretched of The Earth
04. Grave New World
05. Age of Hunger
08. In Near Ruins
09. The Nothing Doctrine
10. I am The Rape
Reviewed by bloodofheroes on June 14, 2009
German melodic death metal band Neaera was originally formed as a way for founder Tobias Buck to explore and expand his interest in Swedish death metal. It has grown larger than a side project, as “Omnicide – Creation Unleashed” is Neaera’s fourth full length album. “Omnicide” is heavy and consistent but is a departure from earlier albums and the strict Swedish sound.
Earlier in Neaera’s career they wrote and played music that was a pretty good facsimile of Swedish melodic death metal. Melodic music bereft of much of the tremolo picking and walls of sound was given away as death metal by the guttural growls of the vocals. “Omnicide” has moved away from some of the soaring melodic elements, added more standard death metal conventions and even mixed in some additional hardcore touches.
“Grave New World” is a standout track that showcases Neaera at their best. Beginning with a chugging riff underneath a slow guitar melody, the music eventually finds an easy groove. Sparse low register death metal vocals filter in and build to hardcore-styled shrieks over a blast beat. The chorus features the low growl and high shriek vocals multi-tracked together. So many elements, from hardcore to death metal, have already been shown 90 seconds in. There is also a hardcore style breakdown, but even it features some tremolo picking.
The band moves easily between styles and mixes them together quite often. The tremolo picking throughout the album is softened with chord progressions and production so that it is not an unintelligible wall of sound like much death metal nowadays. Blast beats and growls mix with breakdowns and shrieks. Guitar lines, melodies, and solos shine over chunky, groove-filled riffs. Neaera does a fine job not featuring one style too much, which keeps each song fresh. Some lean toward one style, some the other way, and almost every song has elements of both.
Melodic death metal has not been left behind, however. Each song has a single musical theme which plays out as the songs develop. This overarching melody ties the seemingly diverse musical styles together and makes each song a complete composition. The interplay of musical melody and death metal vocals is still strong on the album, as the influence of Swedish death metal on the band is still clearly apparent.
Despite the well crafted songs, excellent production, and a fine performance by the band members, Neaera has not come up with anything particularly new. This isn’t the first time hardcore and death metal have been mixed successfully. The album does get old toward the end, and the back half does sound a little like filler. The first five songs on the album range from very good to fantastic, while the second set of five songs sounds like more of the same. If the order of the songs was reversed, the status relegation of filler would also be swapped. Each song alone is an excellent composition – heavy, complex, melodic and brutal. But when ten songs are put back to back, the multitude of similarities between all the songs become easily apparent.
Many other bands also fill their albums with uninventive and repetitive songs that all use the same theme, but death metal has a smaller sonic palette and melodic base to pull from, so the repetition stands out more. This is where the move away from Swedish melodic death metal was not a good thing for Neaera, as the band needs the melodic base to keep creative interest throughout all ten songs.
Highs: The mixture of melodic death metal and hardcore elements is very well done.
Lows: The musical ideas get repetitive; the second half of the album is not as good as the first.
Bottom line: Melodic death metal with a twist of hardcore; just don’t stick around for the second round.
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