The Bereaved - Darkened Silhouette
Black Lotus Records
Death/Thrash Metal
12 songs (42'57")
Release year: 2004
The Bereaved, Black Lotus
Reviewed by Alex

I have to admit that some reviews are easier to write than others. With some bands it is difficult even to name the genre, much more so to describe the music with words. And then, there are those with which you know where they are coming from exactly. You recognize the riffs, vocal approaches, song structures. Admittedly, these bands are not perceived as the most innovative, but if you like the particular style of metal they play in and they do it well, then there should be some warm place in your heart for them. The Bereaved are that band. They would not blow your mind with a pioneering approach, yet their very competent scathing Swedish death/thrash connects with the listener, assuming this style is not something you wouldn’t touch with a 7-ft pole.

Originally formed in 1998 and having undergone a number of obligatory line-up changes (some members were disinterested in working hard apparently), these Swedes present Darkened Silhouette as their full-length debut on Black Lotus.

Darkened Silhouette is an album full of fast chops and sharp cutting riffs repeated many times over throughout each particular song. The band comes up with a few riffs, builds a song around them and pretty much sticks with this approach throughout the album. From very speedy (Pathetic) to quite melodic (My Dying Pride) the riffs serve as a foundation, walls and roof of the house that is The Bereaved. In a way, Darkened Silhouette is similar to Dimension Zero’s Silent Night Fever, the album I never particularly warmed up to. Yet, it is different, because The Bereaved, unlike Dimension Zero on the aforementioned album, try and succeed to blend melodies and solos with their riffs. They do it seamlessly, the songs do not lose their speed and flow, but melodicism allows the band to differentiate tracks, at least to a degree. Henrik Tranemyr’s and Johny Westerback’s solos are just the right length, do not overextend and can be harmonized (Fatal Human Rapture) or possess a power metal feel, especially when supported by Tobhias Ljung’s double bass (Lines in Shape).

The band is not as brutal as their countrymen Carnal Forge or The Forsaken, but they do throw a healthy helping of blast drums at the listener (Silverspoon, Angels Ablaze, Lines in Shape). At the same time rhythmic structures on Darkened Silhouette are as tight as the most rigid of materials, blasting never amounting to a shapeless muck. Blasting drums are sometimes accompanied by atmospheric moments and songs take on a Hypocrisy dimension (Angels Ablaze). Mikael Nilsson pulses along with his bass guitar (The Bereaved, Fatal Human Rapture) and, if I am not mistaken, he also provides very subtle atmospheric keyboard backing in some songs (Vital Organ Theft, Angels Ablaze). Johny Westerback’s singing is mostly a throaty rasp, very typical of Swedish death/thrash, backed up by a lower growl by Tobhias Ljung. As if tired of the non-stop thrash attack the album ends with a calming piano/synth instrumental The Abyss. And tired you could be, as by the end of Lines in Shape the album does start to run together.

If you are in the market for not the most original of sounds, but want to hear quite skilled and capable band The Bereaved delivers. They have undoubtedly worshipped at the shrine erected by At The Gates and pre-Colony era In Flames. Not so much harmonized melodic death metal, not so complex riffs, tilted on thrash, The Bereaved closest cousins would be the deceased The Everdawn, the makers of the worst ever produced and fantastically catchy Poems - Burn the Past, and Gates of Ishtar. I own albums by those bands and listen to them from time to time. I can’t say that the plastic has holes in it from being worn out in my CD player, but any time I put on Poems I enjoy it. I think The Bereaved will assume about the same niche in my music library – something not to be wowed by, but to be revisited on a rare periodic basis and feel good about it when you do.

Killing Songs :
Silverspoon, My Dying Pride, Angels Ablaze, Fatal Human Rapture
Alex quoted 73 / 100
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