Thursday, July 11, 2013
Ebony Tears - Tortura Insomniae
The first of three albums from this old Swedish melodeath band - a rough cut of melodic death metal and violins.
Ebony Tears are a Swedish melodic death metal band that borrows from the sounds of both Stockholm death metal and Gothenburg melodeath. The guitars borrow the chainsaw Sunlight sound, smoothed out a little bit, and many melodies are reminiscent to In Flames' incorporation of violins on parts of their debut. The vocalist is very similar to Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates, a fairly common style among Swedes at the time, with Lindberg becoming the iconic vocalist. The vocals are one of the strongest points of the album, being consistent and having some groove and catchyness to them, though they are hardly varied. A bit of the heavier punk influence that can be heard on "Slaughter of the Soul" is also present on this album, an aggressive edge to something that has many very pleasant, consonant melodies.
The basic structure of Swedish melodeath is the strength of this album, but the inconsistency is the weakness. Many of the melodies seem removed from the music, with violins coming in as the guitars lay back, and the lead guitar tones being far removed from the crushing rhythm guitar tone. There are some guitar melodies in the riffs, but the guitar work lacks both the heaviness of swedeath like Dismember and the mystical feel of In Flames' harmonies. Perhaps the most notable part of the combination is how the melodies have a folky feel, moreso than even In Flames' debut. The violin parts generally seem quite removed from the song, at times as much as At the Gates last minute addition of a violin player on their debut, though in contrast to ATG's approach of tacking a violin solo onto the end of a song, Ebony Tears prefer to start the song off with one. The arrangements are still rough and odd. The interplay between melody and rhythm, crushing guitars and sweet violins is a bit reminiscent of late 90s gothic metal, with the smoother element at one point being clean vocals rather than violins. Still, the hard-driving Gothenburg feel is dominant, though they're from Stockholm.
The melodies and grooves here are quite enjoyable - while they aren't perfected, it's quite enjoyable if you're a fan of melodic death metal, especially an older, less polished style where there's still the remnants of death metal as well as the punkish edge found in later ATG. The melodies are the strongest point here, with the grooves being good, but nothing that stands out from death metal of the era. Give this a listen if you like melodic death metal, otherwise it's probably not your cup of tea.