It's melodic death metal, but not as we know it
Since parting ways with Scar Symmetry in September 2008, Swedish vocalist Christian Älvestam has been quite busy on the music scene, with no less than four new musical projects on the go.
While many are slowly working their way toward completion of albums (Miseration, Solution .45 and Torchbearer), Älvestam’s work with his new outfit The Few Against Many has finally emerged, with Sot the band’s full-length debut release.
Expectations for The Few Against Many’s debut are high, and it’s not surprising given the members that make up the line-up. Aside from Älvestam (who provides lead vocals and rhythm guitars), The Few Against Many features backing vocalist Pär Johansson (Satariel/Torchbearer), lead guitarist Patrik Gardberg (ex-DivineFire/Torchbearer/Mean Streak), bassist Anders Edlund (Solution .45/Angel Blake) and drummer Jani Stefanovic (Solution .45/DivineFire/Miseration). And while quite a few of the members involved with The Few Against Many are involved in quite a few of the same bands, it has to be said that The Few Against Many shares little in common with those mentioned. Yes, The Few Against Many is still primarily a melodic death metal band, but they do have something different to offer than most.
There’s no denying the band’s dedication to the melodic death metal sound, with the opening track Hädanfärd a fast paced intense blast of death metal for its entire two and a half minutes. But where the band differs from most is in the keyboards that infiltrate the song in and around the guitar riffs. While their presence is minimal, they can certainly be heard, emphasising the band’s demonic sound. Helping flesh out their aggression is Älvestam’s vocal performance, where he sticks primarily to guttural growls throughout.
The mid-paced follow-up track Bränd Mark takes a different route to the opener, with the overall structure of the song sounding a little more progressive and experimental than what you would normally expect from the genre, both in terms of the varied shifts in structure and the few keyboard passages. While the fast paced title track Sot (which features some great lead guitar work), the old school influenced Abider and the lengthy slow and epic One With the Shadow (the latter two being the only songs such in English, and featuring lyrical contributions from Katatonia’s Jonas Renske and Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne) are further highlights in the latter half of the album.
While most of the album is well executed, some of the keyboard contributions (especially in Blod, Skapelsens Sorti and Heresi) are a little too intrusive, and take away more than they add.
Despite the odd track where the mix of sound clash more than meld, Sot is a rather impressive and innovative release, and one that allows The Few Against Many to stand apart from most within the melodic death metal scene.
(Pulverised Records/Conspire Destroy/Aztec Music Distribution)