Marionette - Enemies
Listenable Records
Melodic Death Metal
13 songs (49'25")
Release year: 2009
Listenable Records
Reviewed by Alex

Whatever first impression Marionette’s band picture can create, their music is going to defy it. A bunch of very young guys, dressed in boarding school uniforms, wearing ties, haircuts hinting away at gothic rock inclinations – the Swedes neither delve into things gothic, nor they venture anywhere avant-garde. Instead, they have chosen a path beaten by many lately, that of modern melodic death metal. With that choice, and hailing from no less than world-famous (in this particular style anyway) Gothenburg, Marionette had a lot to live up to.

So, speaking of that first impression, Marionette on Enemies could be something the disappointed Soilwork fans can rest their heads and ears on. The Marionette younglings also tend to braid together bouncy melodies, crushing rhythms, skillful leads, keyboards served cold and screaming vocals, just like Soilwork has been doing of late. But unlike their more famous countrymen, who can’t seem to pull out of their recent tailspin, Marionette run through their thirteen cuts leaving a cohesive and attractive feeling, even if they do not uncover anything terribly original.

On their most successful songs on Enemies they pull away from Soilwork raising up the intensity level (The Truth), being edgy with their wall of sound, and making very good use of quirky jagged rhythms (Your Hands, The Swine). Stench of the Herd, my personal favorite, has the catchiest melody reminiscent of the few gems from At The Gates and In Flames Pinball Map. Downtuned marches run into atmospheric breakdowns, making a perfect play on the Hatelust song title. Thrashing away (Through Veils) or playing a softer, even acoustic, tune with a hint of Finnish melancholy (The Lie), Marionette mix well modernity, fluidity and heaviness. Not overstretching any of their songs over 4 min mark, they have a good sense for when to break up the blasting and drop in an unsettling keyboard note which will provide sensibility and depth.

Even with their sense of composition firmly on display, although bone crunching ominous intermission The Slaughter is criminally underdeveloped, Marionette does not completely traverse into the realm of melodic death metal I call my most beloved. In that, rather limited, domain rule the bands both established (Dark Tranquillity) and those who did not quite make it beyond demos or one-shot albums (Hyperborean, Lothlorien). What distinguishes them from Marionette, however, is they are turning their inner self inside out for everyone to see, rather than smack and crush you with rhythms and impress with downtuned production. Solid and squarely in your face, Marionette is a bit too impersonal for my tastes, but they no doubt have my respect. Those first impressions can be very misleading.

Killing Songs :
Stench of the Herd, Anthropomorphism, The Truth
Alex quoted 72 / 100
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