Sunday, January 18, 2015

Inner Maze - Under the Black Ice

Inner Maze follow the path of later melodic death and groove metal - lots of chugging guitar grooves which mix The Haunted, later In Flames, and Pantera with a bit of the lofty, atmospheric melodies of later Finnish melodeath. 

The guitar phrasing is very staccato: first, the rhythms are mostly phrased around muted chugs which give the music a jumpy feeling similar to groove metal and metalcore. Second, the leads are choppy strings of melody which have none of the mystical feeling of old Swedish melodeath, though the clean passages bring a bit of this feeling into it. Despite that, the band completely lacks the grace of the ultimate progenitors of their style, Dark Tranquillity. Their style is reminiscent of the German melodeath bands that emerged at the tail end of the 90s and into the early 00s, such as Burden of Grief and Behind the Scenery. 

Aside from that, the really jumpy, chuggy playing adds an element of groove metal, almost metalcore, though there's little direct hardcore influence in this. The first half of "Distress Maelstrom" puts the chug-n-squeal thing right out in front, and I just don't like that style. The barked vocals are consistent and blend in quite well, though nothing special. They do shine through a bit on "Zoloto" and they remind me of Enter Chaos, perhaps a bit of Arch Enemy. A rather uncommon tone. 

While this isn't bad, it isn't really enjoyable. I feel like I'm picking up similarities to second-rate melodeath bands because of how the band tries to get too groovy and misses the mark on the original strengths of melodeath as well as on the grooves themselves, which simply aren't catchy and memorable. 

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