One Without

Thoughts Of A Secluded Mind

Written by: AP on 23/12/2009 18:11:22

Like Belgium and chocolate, Switzerland and mountains, or Cuba and cigars, Sweden and metal go hand-in-hand as an inseparable pair. Sweden has one of the most vibrant, interesting and respected metal scenes in the world, having provided the cradle from which legends were born, and which the influences of almost every melodic metal band today can be traced back to; such was the impact that the explosion of the Gothenburg scene had on the music industry. But Gothenburg metal, or more specifically, melodic death metal is not a thing of the past, as the city continues to spew out new bands that draw inspiration from its cornucopia.

One such band is One Without, although their supposed association with the melodic death metal genre is iffy at best, it should be said. Do not be fooled by the grim, Opeth-isque album art - the only reasonable justification for referring to the band's debut album, "Thoughts of a Secluded Mind", as anything resembling that exclusive club of bands is that the music is rather melodic, and that the guitars are tuned down and make heavy use of distortion. In fact, were it not for the female vocalist, it would be tempting to lump One Without in the same category as their countrymen Dead By April, and lately also Sonic Syndicate (who ironically both claim to be proud melodic death metal exports too), such is the overwhelming poppiness of their music. Lacuna Coil would of course be a better simile, but then One Without's music is not exactly a distant cousin when it comes to bands like Evanescence either.

Unfortunately both Lacuna Coil and Evanescene sport extremely capable vocalists, which explains their respective stardoms, and One Without does not, which explains the grade at the bottom of this review. Unlike the ethereal and operatic pipes of her idols, Catrin Feymark's voice is stale, and completely devoid of the passion that her obviously personal lyrics exude. Clearly unaware of this fact, Mattias Wänerstram and Dragan Tanakovic have produced the music around her, with simple powerchords dominating the music so as to allow as much space as possible for Ms. Feymark's singing - an effective trick to be sure, as long as your vocalist is Cristina Scabbia or Amy Lee. On the other hand we should be thankful that multi-layering has been used on her voice, because without it, her singing would sound even more dispassionate and dull.

There is no reason to be unreasonably harsh on Ms. Feymark though, as she has the technical aspects in order, so the singing is not out of tune and she does not attempt at notes too high for her range. But there is no escapting the fact that combined with fairly uninteresting instrumentation, choruses that lack in memorability, pointless, barely audible back-up screams, and an overall sterile delivery, One Without's music sounds average at best. And with twelve songs generally floating around the four-and-a-half-minute mark, that's easily an hour's worth of material that never strays from formulaic songwriting and a feeling of lackluster colorlessness, causing you to lose any intrigue the first few songs may have inspired.


Download: Ignorance, Once in Silence

For the fans of: Evanescence, Lacuna Coil

Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.09.2009


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