A quarter of a century after causing a few ripples with their debut album If Emotions Still Burn, Falkenberg frashers Ablaze My Sorrow return with a new singer but the same sound and delicately-wrought fury…
The key to this band lies in the title of that debut effort, as for this reviewer’s money, AMS have always conveyed a little more emotion than many of their peers, even if they occasionally come up short in terms of sheer class. The guitars of Magnus Carlsson and Dennie Lindén are key to this, and some of the black metal styled lead guitar melody lines they come up with on AAAM won’t fail to get the hairs on the back of your neck interested as the pair push and pull the listener through the emotional wringer. Their work on the superb At The Graves of Giants is as good as you’ll hear anywhere in this particular field in 2021.
New vocalist Jonas Udd deserves special mention too, as his gruff-throated roar has certainly added a bit of impetus to a band that certainly looked to be in need of a bit of a shot in the arm after the release of their last album Black in 2016. His rabid bark on Dark Chasms is a joy to behold, and his ability to bolster the melodies of the guitars whilst seemingly just shouting maniacally shows a skill and grasp of the craft of death metal vocalisation that many of the man’s peers simply don’t get. Being a human blast furnace is good – but a bit of finesse is even better.
Best track is the slightly more melodically varied The Cavernous Deep, wherein Udd employs one or two different vocal techniques and Carlsson and Lindén add epic guitar flourishes, but there’s nothing here that fans of Swedish melodeath will be consigning to the rubbish tip upon repeated listens, which makes this well worth a listen if you count yourself a fan of the genre.
Among Ashes and Monoliths releases on February 12th.