Thing of the Day
Bearing a torch for better metal
TORCHBEARER – Death Meditations (VIC) - Third full length album from the Swedish black/death metal outfit with the big reputation. Death Meditations kicks off with the regulation moody foggy mist before dawn intro, gives way to a nice bit of darkly classical piano and Danny Elfman-like strings, the album starts off like some big budget horror movie soundtrack, sounding good, sounding epic… until… until the regulation two minutes of atmosphere, as we kind of expected, gives way to the usual torrent of hellwind noise, high-speed metal riffs, to the thrashy bass drum pounding and regulation screaming bloody gore along with the usual growling from guttural rough-voiced singing man… hang on though… hang on…. nice twist there, nice diversion from the hell-barking and the million mile an hour riffing.
That riffing does go on (and on), but there are entertaining twists and turns lurking in wait here, some unexpected touches, a left-field move or two, bit of musical colour luriking down in the dark shadows somewhere beyond the mere high energy metal intensity… These people must have a bagload of speeding tickets! Nice hint of occasional almost-mathy bits - screaming guitar driven mathy bits, mind you - but for once they do do it with an extra bit of twisted colour rather than just sticking to the same old blueprints and rules. Nice melodic breaks, some old school passages of atmospheric melodic metal guitar.
Death Meditations is an intense soup of extreme metal
laced with melody, power, speed, aggression and a twist or two of
colour. Torchbearer are doing this with a touch of style, a bite or two
of imagination. There’s some kind of concept going down here, black
metal concepts of Hagakure and the way of the samurai, not sure about
that, this in reality it's just colourfully interesting intense extreme
metal noise... and why the hell not? Most metal doesn’t manage to make it
past our big red CD crusher in the corner these days. There’s a million
trillion metal bands out there, most of them pointless repeats of
things already done. Torchbearer are one of the few metal bands
seriously bothering with. In terms of extreme metal, this is a good