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The Absence - "Enemy Unbound" (CD)

The Absence - "Enemy Unbound" CD cover image

"Enemy Unbound" track listing:

1. Vertigo
2. Erased
3. Deepest Wound
4. Maelstrom
5. Enemy Unbound
6. Solace
7. The Bridge
8. Wartorn
9. Hidden in White
10. Vengeance and Victory
11. Triumph

Reviewed by on September 17, 2010

"All of the music is exactly what one would expect from this band, but they could really use some progression."

The Absence is a band that I’ve been a fan of for quite some time now. I don’t consider myself that much of a nationalist, but while this band hasn’t produced anything new or groundbreaking, their music has proven that Americans can hold their own in the Gothenburg scene. Playing a very melodic and thrashy blend of metal, these guys manage to stand out in the legendary Florida death metal scene. Their first two albums were solid melodic death metal, and while “Enemy Unbound” doesn’t quite hold the same water as the first two, it’s definitely worth a listen for fans.

The Absence manages to turn up the heaviness this time around, and while the music is never very brutal, the guitars definitely have loads of presence and are featured front and center from start to finish. Mostly thrashing and flowing, the riffs are highly addictive and extremely catchy. What The Absence does best in all of their music, including on “Enemy Unbound,” is create catchy metal that might have similar song structures, but work very well overall. The band has stuck to this formula without deviating much at all. The only difference I can tell on this album that isn’t present on the others is the small amount of acoustic work. Other than that, “Enemy Unbound” is more of the same compared to their other two albums. This is both good and bad. Fans will be very familiar with the tracks here, as they really represent The Absence’s sound. While they manage some awesome tracks, “Enemy Unbound” tends to lose energy near the end.

The guitar work is the centerpiece of this album, and songs like “Vengeance and Victory” and “Deepest Wound” feature some absolutely gorgeous riff work. Speaking of “Deepest Wound,” I dare anyone to try to listen to that song without it getting stuck in your head. On the other hand, songs like “The Bridge” and “Maelstrom” are rather mediocre and don’t really retain the heaviness seen earlier in the album. Also, I would really like to see some tempo changes in the music. The band does sprinkle in a couple of faster parts, but overall, the music is played at a pretty medium pace. I would go so far to say that this album doesn’t quite catch on as well as their other releases.

While The Absence still has a lot of talent present, “Enemy Unbound” drops the ball in a way. All of the music is exactly what one would expect from this band, but they could really use some progression. I would definitely recommend listening to this one at least once, but few elements really stand out as being their best work. What the band does, they do well, but it would be refreshing to see them try something different.

Highs: High quality melodic metal that showcases, in parts, what The Absence does best.

Lows: Loses energy and doesn't really try anything new.

Bottom line: Fans of the band will appreciate this, but don't expect it to blow your mind.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)