This is the second album from THE ABSENCE following their debut 'rom The Grave;'released in 2005, also on Metal Blade. If you've never heard THE ABSENCE, think of a male fronted ARCH ENEMY and you're near enough there. From a first listen to this album you can definitely tell that Scandinavian Death Metal is a key influence in their music.
Opening track (which is also the title track), 'Riders of The Plague' doesn't mess about and is straight in there with one hell of an opening. Fast, heavy and awesome. Excellent riffing from the off as well as a cracking solo the likes of ARCH ENEMY would be proud of. Continuing the album is 'Dead And Gone' which is a slower paced track than the opener, but still is as good in its own way.
By the way 'The Murder' starts off you would think that this was the wrong name to give this track, but soon enough we hear the crushing riffs kick in and we get back to the real stuff. Some excellent riffing again showing that they are consistent in their ability to write technically good music that works and is not just a mish mash of chords, beats and vocals that don't mix. The songs flow very well which indicate they know how to write a good song and structure a good album.
'Echos' has a good intro to it, and although the pace of the first track still hasn't been matched yet, the songs are very good, showing the diversity within the genre itself (IN FLAMES have proven that being one of the leading bands in the genre).
The production is very good with nothing seeming out of place. Every riff, drum beat, vocal growl is clearly distinguishable from one another. Some of the high pitched guitar riffs may come off worse for ware when played live, but they are portrayed on the album very well.
The album continues to impress with 'World Divides' which has a great solo section contained within it. Another track that holds its own and its good to hear that no tracks as of yet sound alike, which shows that THE ABSENCE are far from one dimensional.
An instrumental follows in the form of 'Prosperity'. It is good showing of their talent but as these types of songs go you have to get them right. Unfortunately for this one, it doesn't make an impact like 'Dialogue With The Stars' (by IN FLAMES) and in the long run will probably end up being skipped the majority of the time.
Anyway, with that over, we enter the closing stages of the album starting off with 'Awakening'. Some parts of this song do not fit together that well, the sudden change of tempo, some of the riffs sound unnatural, parts of the vocals do not seem to flow with the music at all, and the fact that it stops suddenly also. Not one of their better tracks it must be said.
'Merciless' has a steady build up to a good paced track base. This track makes up for the previous one with ease and flows a hell of a lot better. A first hint of something that sounds very IN FLAMES seems to appear here especially in some of the guitar work and the vocals do have a sound like that of Anders Friden in parts. This track has so much going for it, its diversity, technical brilliance and awesome riffs to name a few.
Penultimate track, TESTAMENT cover 'Into The Pit' shows the pace set down by the opener. This is a short burst of death metal that is a sure hit with fans and anyone who likes moshing and banging their head. The last proper track on the album is entitled 'The Victorious Dead', and is a fitting way to end the vocal side of things to this album with some awesome riffs, and a cracking solo to go along with it. A very strong finish to a good album.
And to the end we come with the 'Outro'. This is a great showmanship of the technical abilities they have with music having more diversity and pace to it than that of the earlier instrumental, 'Prosperity'. In fact, in my opinion, this should have been the interlude instead of 'Prosperity' and they should have forgotten about the outro.
Overall, definitely a solid melodic death metal album. If you like IN FLAMES and ARCH ENEMY, you should definitely try out THE ABSCENCE.
on 20 August 2009
Riders of the Plague is the second album from American Thrash/Melodic Death outfit the Absence. I don;t really have that much to say about the band - this is very competant and enjoyable stuff very much in the vein of Carcass, Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Black Dhalia Murder with a maybe a bit of Megadeth and Pantera thrown in for good measure. The band have a lot of balls which are evident from the sucker-punch of the opening title-track, which is a pretty good indication of what to expect of the album - chunky and rather american sounding melo-death - nice solos - solid drumming etc. Other standout tracks are 'The Murder' which has some wicked egyptian-sounding riffs thrown in for good measure and 'Echoes' which sees the band at their most melodic and their absolutly KILLER cover or Testaments 'Into the Pit'. I also really liked the vocals, which reminded me a lot of Carcass legend Geoff Walker
Now this was definitly an enjoyable listen, but the band just seem to be lacking a certain something to keep me coming back for more. i can't quite put my finger on it, but there just doesn't seem to be that x-factor in this for me even though i can't really see any specific faults with the band. However, for some reason, when I'm in the mood for this sort of thing I'd rather take an album by Dimension Zero or Fragments of Unbecoming.
I didn't find anything that original, ground breaking or distinctive, but its a good CD and fans of the bands mentioned above could do a lot worse then checking out Riders of the Plague. Its also nice to hear an American metal band that isn't playing deathcore for a change. definitly a band to watch.
on 19 September 2010
WOW, this album really is something special. The Absence hits on all cylinders on Riders Of The Plague and really show their growth and maturity as a band. The songwriting and musicianship is fantastic and clearly shown throughout the album as there is a great mixture of epic solos, momorable harmonies and powerfull vocals, just listen to the solo of "world Divides" and to unerstand what i mean about the guitar playing abilities of Patrick Pintavalle and Peter Joseph. the whole album is peppered with little riffs and melodies that are memorable and put a smile on make you just quickly pause in amazement and think "WOW". I really recommend this album to people who like good quality scandanavian metal (melodic death) or more atmospheric thrash (testament) they really appeal to a wide range of metal fans with the mixture of melody and aggresion. Go pick this album up and enjoy it! \m/