In Slumber

Arcane Divine Subspecies

Written by: AP on 31/08/2010 00:15:22

And why not continue with further perpetrators, as south of the German border, the Austrians, too, have been scheming a takeover of the melodic death metal scene. History has shown that this alpine enclave is more than capable of taking over and undermining people and places, but with an extremely powerful Scandinavian alliance to crush for this to happen, chances are that In Slumber will settle for a truce and contribute to - rather than decimate and then reign - the genre, even if the title of the album in question does raise some questions stemming from past events.

The disturbing inhaling and exhaling, and the subsequent bombast which kicks off this sophomore assault is worrying even more so, as the sheer amount of violence packed into these first four minutes is exactly the kind of mindset that an invading force would need in order to crush its foes. Yes, enough with the sly remarks already lest this webzine be thrown into another scandal with racial undertones. But no kidding, "Arcane Divine Subspecies" does begin with a blast. Not ones to settle for mere mediocrity, In Slumber have obviously taken steps to ensure that what drags down their colleagues in Emergency Gate, shall not be included on this important release. One of those steps is that the album sounds much more convincing, and much less contrived than "The Nemesis Construct", in that it prefers to have an extreme edge rather than please our ears with cheap-trick, sugar-coated chorus-mongering. Indeed, "Arcane Divine Subspecies" belongs in the extreme end of the genre alongside bands like Fragments of Unbecoming, In Mourning, Lost Dreams and Thirdmoon.

You might have guessed it already, but clean singing is a myth as far as vocalist Wolfgang Rothbauer, who coincidentally also fronts Thirdmoon, is concerned. His powerful growl, which brings to mind that of Niilo Sevänen (Insomnium) and Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), provides the perfect backdrop to the In Flames-que guitar work that axemen Robert Bogner and Simon Öller do. It should be said that while the guitar lines are inescapably influenced by later In Flames, the In Slumber men have ensured that their own touch is present as well in the form of abrupt style changes and other math-loving metal man's delights - and plenty of solos in various forms. These abrupt style changes are also not exclusive to misters Bogner and Öller, but present in every instrumental channel, as the thundering black metal drums in the beginning of "Patchwork Masquerade" and throughout "Origin of Carnage", for instance, testify.

Indeed, where Emergency Gate floundered, In Slumber excel: variation. Unlike "The Nemesis Construct", "Arcane Divine Subspecies" never becomes a daunting listen. It is obviously too hard-hitting and uncompromising to provide much memorabilia, but whether or not this is something to cringe at is a matter of opinion. To me, it represents the more prestigious club of next-generation melodic death metal, but those requiring more than just awesome melodic instrumentation combined with death-metal aggression might well decide that In Slumber have much to learn still. Decide for yourself, but for modern melodeath this is more or less as good as it comes.

Download: Bleed in Vain, Of Pain and Malice, Hatepath Engine, Razorblade Balance
For the fans of: Fragments of Unbecoming, In Mourning, Lost Dreams, Marionette, Thirdmoon
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.11.2009

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