Metal Review – Sylvatica: Evil Seeds

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Metal Review – Sylvatica: Evil Seeds
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Sylvatica: Evil Seeds
Folk Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Gateway Music
July 1st, 2014
Release length: 57:29
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Denmark’s Sylvatica formed in 2009, and since then has issued a number of smaller recordings on their own. 2010 saw the release of their debut EP titled Sagn og Sagaer, followed by two singles and a compilation. During this period of time the band lost bassist Rasmus Kaibe, as well as guitarists Jannik Ravn and Bøssefar. On board still are founding members Pelle Buch Hansen on drums, Jardén Schlesinger (former Satanic Assault Division) on vocals and guitar, and the 2010 addition of Thomas Haxen (Horned Almighty, Satanic Assault Division) on bass. For 2014, not only does Sylvatica welcome guitarist Richardt Olsen (Abscission, Apparatus) into the fold, but unleash their debut full-length album Evil Seeds through Gateway Music. But is it something worth taking note of, or does it show off a band in need of more time to mature as a unit?

Right away, Evil Seeds introduces a rich, atmospheric mixture of epic adventures often upon the high seas with plenty of glorious Viking-esque hymns along the lines of Amon Amarth. The instrumental introduction “Lost” establishes the first part of that statement before moving seamlessly into “Psychopatica,” playing up the environment well enough at first thanks to all the hooks utilized at the start that only get better as the song progresses until the beautiful keyboard performance at the very end. This ends up the true cornerstone of the album, giving the listener a solid nine minute plus experience that not only sums up most of the album, but is met with a fitting climax during “Sect of Sleep,” which does share some of the similar emotional environments, not to mention enthusiasm that these first two contain.

“Hate Quest” is just a glorious piece all around. There are plenty of Folk Metal style hooks throughout the entire offering, well executed drumming that keeps the epic nature grounded, and the guttural vocals are as strong as ever, even adding a little shakiness about two minutes in that gives the sensation of a voice carried by the wind. There are some one-note chugs, but it becomes excusable with how the group manages to reach Manowar heights without forsaking the Melodic Death Metal realm or being too cheesy, not to mention the ending guitars that show some Progressive tendencies. Meanwhile there’s “Lucifer,” a much darker song with tight pacing that finds some Finntroll style Oompa music at work in the main verses. While those two elements do kind of clash, it’s still an infectious track that is incredibly fun with enough variety to keep the over six minute performance from getting stale.

The slower “Winds of Decay” sets up a subtle epic sensation with plenty of hooks thrown about, though some bridges are a little more technical at times. The chorus isn’t quite as strong but that little echo on the drums that are a bit lower in volume really stands out, commanding all attention be paid to them and nothing else in order to make the barren guitars at that point less obvious. “Evil Seeds” has its spurts of blast beat fuelled speed, but there are times where some Hardcore influence can be felt in the two-step drums and riffs that allow the twang of the bass guitar to come through more. While most of the time it could be argued as Crossover or early Death Metal, but once you hit the passage about two-and-a-half minutes in that carries itself with a lighter eighties Rock style before the guitar solo about thirty seconds later, you’ll find yourself wanting to pick up change or do roundhouse kicks at the four minute area.

For their first full-length venture, Evil Seeds is a highly impressive recording. Sylvatica show themselves to be a tightly knit group with a clear direction that can be guilty of going off the path a bit here and there, but what established band hasn’t done that on some of their most beloved efforts? Each track manages to be fluid and epic in its own right, never leaving you wishing they would cut down on the fat for the sake of time except for “Reanimated” which just isn’t that strong overall. If you like rich, atmospheric performances and plenty of infectious hooks, Sylvatica is a band well worth keeping an eye on, and Evil Seeds a nice addition to any metalhead’s collection.

01. Lost – 2:04
02. Psychopatica – 7:04
03. Winds of Decay – 4:18
04. The Ascension – 5:14
05. Evil Seeds – 5:15
06. God of the Gallows – 3:39
07. Hate Quest – 6:56
08. Lucifer – 6:18
09. Reanimated – 5:31
10. The Sludge Soup – 5:44
11. Sect of Sleep – 5:26
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Sylvatica
Sylvatica

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metalmessage PR.