THE ABSENCE - FROM YOUR GRAVE - METAL BLADE
What a suitable title for this album! From Your Grave is the perfect name for an album that nips at the teat of the saturated Swedish metal scene. As the Swedish originators and the second and third generation pack it in and move onto different frontiers the American impersonators move in to fill the void. Except, is there an audience still out there?
The Absence makes no bones about its influences. Arch Enemy, older In Flames, Eucharist, early Soilwork and The Crown all makes an appearance (in spirit) on the band's debut full-length as the band thrashes through ten songs - which includes the band's debut EP - of 2004. As much as the band's music is intriguing and accomplished one cannot get over the sheer scale of the unoriginality and the unashamed cloning of the sounds of bands forming the core of the Gothenburg scene. The song Seven Demons even manages to use the incredibly silly clean backing vocals that bands like Soilwork and In Flames belt out with increasing occurrence. Nope, there is a total absence of originality here. - Anna Tergel
THE ABSENCE - RIDERS OF THE PLAGUE - METAL BLADE
I find myself liking the new album of The Absence despite myself. The quartet for Tampa, Florida has improved on its debut, 2005’s From Your Grave, and released an album that it can genuinely stand behind. To be clear, The Absence will still not win a trophy for originality or unique personality, but Riders Of The Plague is still full of hard-hitting and extreme metal. Melody, hooks, solos and death growls are in abundance giving the twelve tracks an air of variety and pleasure. The group’s sheer love and respect for bands like Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, Forbidden and Death is easy to hear, but the band is still a breath of fresh air given the abundance of guitar solos and complete absence of stupid and trendy metalcore nonsense. Respect to the band for standing alone in purity. Heavy and powerful tracks are many and have names like Dead And Gone, Riders of The Plague and Merciless. The Victorious Dead is not just a great title, but also the song with the ultra cool guitars. The band has included two instrumentals and even a four second track called Untitled, which is appropriate since the song consists of nothing but silence! I wonder whether they have shot a video for the track. The obligatory cover version is here and it is a rendition of Testament’s Into The Pit. Even worse is the so-called hidden track, which caps a good album with a trendy element. The Absence has churned out a serious and respectable death metal album here. It would be great to see the band make similar improvements and strides in the future. - Anna Tergel