Three-piece Skymning hails from Sweden and represents the situation when boundaries of Gothenborg melodic death metal scene are being pushed, maybe even a hair too much. Founded in 1996 the band had five members at the time and played more or less straightforward Swedish melodic death metal then. One album and a few personnel changes later Artificial Supernova saw the light of day early 2002.
With this album Skymning reduced their Gothenborg roots significantly and industrialized their sound. Gothenborg shines mostly through leads, melodic portions and some blast beat structures. Industrial style makes up the majority of the album and is responsible for somewhat monotonous, mechanical, processed, lifeless, albeit quite heavy delivery. Throw in numerous vocal effects, loads of guitar synthesizers and you have Skymning circa 2002.
The opener Synthetic Visions, Shatter the World/Artificial Supernova, Exoskeletal/X.T.C., Solitude all follow the same formula. Something akin to simplified old school death metal riffs are being played repetitively with the heavy industrial edge. Vocals most of the time are typical for death metal, but have some distorted and whispery passages. Synthesizers and those multiple vocal distortions provide a blackened atmosphere, but overall feeling is “I would like this to end soon”. Drummer’s nickname is Machine and he could not have chosen a better one. Quite mechanical he fits the music style like a glove, but there is no overall flow to the music. This simply does not work for me.
Wherever the band decides to reach for the past they deliver some nice tracks. Shadowed/Astral Silver is an excellent melodic death song with the leads rivaling In Flames and thrash riffs comparable in intensity with Darkane. Subtle rhythm transition in the end towards more techno style drumming is interesting and effective. Suicidal Dominion is more of a mid-pace Unleashed-like pounder, while Esperandote is a fast and furious blast beat driven number. Suicidal Dominion actually shows that this industrial edge may work, but you have to use it in moderation.
The closer Elite catches by surprise by providing an almost 8 min techno-dance electronic instrumental. This is very similar to what Dark Tranquillity did with Archetype on Enter Suicidal Angels and … And Oceans had with New Model World to close AMGOD. Mind you, Archetype was a short closer of a 4 track EP, and … And Oceans are in the class of their own with their heavily techno influenced black metal. Elite simply doesn’t fit. Especially at 8 min long.
I understand and respect Skymning’s desire not to be like everyone else. They want to push an envelope. Good idea, once these influences are incorporated into the overall song fabric. Otherwise, it looks like a collection of songs simply jumping from one style to another. It feels almost like a potpourri, not one cohesive album. The band has talent and good ideas, but it needs to get over its “multiple personality disorder” and blend the influences organically.
For now I liked exactly half of the album. I will add a few points for not being afraid to do what they feel is right.
Killing Songs :
Shadowed/Astral Silver, Suicidal Dominion, Esperandote
|Alex quoted 55 / 100|
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