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Anterior - "Echoes Of The Fallen" (CD)

Anterior - "Echoes Of The Fallen" CD cover image

"Echoes Of The Fallen" track listing:

1. To Live Not Remain
2. Blood In The Throne Room
3. Tyranny
4. Of Gods And Men
5. By Horror Haunted
6. Echoes Of The Fallen
7. The Evangelist
8. Sleep Soundly No More
9. Venomous
10. Senora De Las Sombras

Reviewed by on September 22, 2011

"Leon Kemp and Steve Nixon create magic when they press nylon to wood."

Just like an old, worn-out VHS tape (do you remember those?), the Gothenburg sound has been copied over and over again, so the original quality has faded. Albums have become predictable —insert Swedish riff here, insert breakdown there. Anterior’s sophomore album “Echoes of the Fallen” is a piece of gold among a mountain of iron pyrite. The high level of skill displayed by these Brits came with lukewarm regards upon first listen. Subsequent listens pushed negative notions to the side, and really allowed the group’s greatness to shine through.

The foremost aspect that makes “Echoes of the Fallen” such an enjoyable listen is the guitar play. Leon Kemp and Steve Nixon create magic when they press nylon to wood. A good melodic death album contains guitars that speak to the listener. Whether it is the head banging induced from speed-picked riff, heavenly melodies or fretwork dexterity, the guitar work of a good melo-death album remains at the forefront.

Nixon and Kemp possess all of these qualities, but with a Michael Romeo/Yngwie Malmsteen shredding ability. This duo infuses each track with graceful melodies and solos that smoothly bridge to the next rhythm. Around 1:15 of “The Evangelist,” the guitars hover at a small-string serenade that thirty seconds later bends to the will of the faster tempo. “Sleep Soundly No More” reveals more efficient transitions and shows the band’s ability to find a center point between pounding, forceful movements and fluid, soft tones.

“Sleep Soundly No More” offers a great example of how Anterior nods to the past, while remaining firmly in the present. Along with “By Horror Haunted,” this is one of the few tracks with obvious breakdowns. Breakdowns can be fun if done with precision, and this group is oh-so precise. There is a touch of metalcore in the group’s sound, especially in the tough vocals of former guitarist Luke Davies. Much of their approach, including Davies’ vocals, recalls modern heavyweights Unearth. Still, there are moments like the title track. This brief, instrumental interlude is enveloped in keyboard atmosphere, which recalls the short instrumentals of genre creator At the Gates.

For those in their third decade of existence, “Echoes of the Fallen” will bring about both nostalgia and a sense of familiar distance. There isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before. However, Anterior’s skill level and memorable qualities help raise this release above all the charlatans. Expect “Echoes of the Fallen” to work your heart strings like a seasoned puppeteer!

Highs: Anterior's guitars relate technical brilliance and near-harmonious perfection.

Lows: "Echoes of the Fallen" is not the most original sounding album.

Bottom line: There isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before, but Anterior’s skill level and memorable qualities help raise this release above all the charlatans.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)