The Absence: From Your Grave

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The Absence: From Your Grave
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The Absence: From Your Grave
Melodic Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
September 6th, 2005
Release length: 42:24
Myspace
From Your Grave marks the first full-length offering from The Absence, a Melodic Death Metal act from Florida. Formed in 2002, the band issued their debut release, a self-titled three song EP, in 2004. While From Your Grave may be the band’s first full-length offering, when you break it down, it actually becomes a second EP with bonus material, as this release also features the three songs recorded on that very same three song EP. So, in essence, this is more a compilation then anything, but there’s no denying that it is still a very strong release to a much wider audience.

When you look at the track listing to From Your Grave, one would imagine that all ten tracks of the album are newly recorded, but it’s misleading. The album is composed of an introductory track (“Intro”) which is simply a haunting guitar track that lasts a minute and twenty seconds, as well as the instruental track “Shattered” that lasts even less, clocking in at only one minute and twelve seconds. Technically speaking, outside the instrumental tracks, there’s only five genuine tracks on this release that are new. The latter three songs on the release come from the band’s The Absence EP. To many, this marketing ploy can go either way. For those who wouldn’t mind having all the material by the band, as well as don’t already own the EP, it’s great to have on this release, and the two instrumentals are just there as seperators for the material. However, to others, it may be a move that hinders at a financial level, leaving some feeling cheated as they believe all the material is newly recorded since there’s no information whatsoever with the CD that the latter three tracks are off a whole other release outside of the booklet inside, which you actually would have to read or happen to glance at the recording credits then do some research in order to learn this 9until this review, even I didn’t know this, and I received a full press kit back when I worked at WSFX FM from the label to properly promote the album], so it’s a bit of a sneaky gimmick.

But either way, From Your Grave is a solid Melodic Death Metal release. The two instrumental tracks really aren’t anything too special, and will wind up being skipped over quickly on future spins. “Intro” is a decent enough introduction to the album, mostly thanks to the haunting ambience in the background against the guitars, and even the chords being played that create a dismal atmosphere that suits the band. The song is strong enough to stand on it’s own, but the problem is that it would have worked out well had it bled into the following track, “A Breath Beneath”, instead of just fading out and feeling as though it were a bit tacked on. “Shattered” is the next instrumental, composed once again only of guitars, but this time on is electric and the main guitar used is acoustic, and lacks any ambience like “Intro”. The song has a bit of a desolate feeling to it, but there’s absolutely nothing special to it whatsoever, and it acts mostly as a way to seperate the new material from the tracks on the band’s previous EP. In the end, “Shattered” works out as a seperator between the two due to the fact that if you aren’t paying close enough attention, the average listener may not pick up on the different recording quality between them and the new material, though there is a slight change in clarity, but not of quality.

it’s clear that the band has kept the same intensity in their music, opting more for a sound that has more of a bite with some clear At the Gates worship that is expanded to blend in some of today’s Melodic Death Metal sounds, such as that of Arch Enemy. While From Your Grave may not sound completely original, it’s still got one heck of a bite to it that causes the listener to keep coming back. Of the new material recorded, the only song on here that really sounds a bit lacking would be “Heaven Ablaze”, which is still a strong track, but just winds up sounding a bit hollow, as well as a little generic at times, and has a much slower pace compared to some of the other songs. This is one of the slowest songw on the release, though “Summoning the Darkness” does seem to move at a slower pace, but still has some good speed with the drumming to keep the pace up nicely with the rest of the material tht came before it, and to keep the song from sounding as if it was composed of generic riffs that were made technical. However, there is no denying that the melody of “A Breath Beneath” is addicting, and overall makes for a song that could be argued as a fantastic anthem-sounding track that carries a haunting ambience nicely. “Necropolis”, however”, rounds out these two fantastic tracks with some great intensity and a chorus that is as catchy as it is heavy, as well as features a nice moment where the music slows down and, again, matches the haunting atmosphere that the introductory track created.

While the new material here shows great promise from The Absence, it’s the latter three tracks that will grab the listener moreso. “A Breath Beneath” and “Necropolis” show some great intensity behind the music, these tracks show what the band is capable of moreso. As stated, there’s not much of a difference as far as the quality between these and the earlier tracks go, but there’s enough to really push these over the top. “I, Deceiver” is a fantastic song, and the slightly rougher production quality, as opposed to the more clear digital sound utilized on the first six tracks of this release, makes it sound heavier, and the layered vocal approach about two thirds of the way in during on of the bridges really sounds fantastic. It’s just too bad it only happens once in this song in that manner, though there are different vocal approaches throughout that take the place of the traditional rhaspy screams, or, such as near the end with gutteral vocals layered behind the screaming for extra impact. These little touches really make these songs stand out more, though “My Ruin” winds up sounding a little hollow musically when compared to “I, Deceiver”, falling the fate of “Heaven Ablaze” in the new recordings, though the guitar solo for this song is a nice one.

In the end, new fans to The Absence are treated nicely with From Your Grave, thanks to the addition of the band’s 2004 self-titled EP, but for some, the inclusion of the EP may not be enough to excuse the fact that there’s really only five full-length songs that were newly recorded. The production quality isn’t enough to hinder the material recorded, though the latter three songs prove a slightly rougher or more raw quality would have benefitted the music a little more. Each song, with exception of two songs and the instrumentals, make for fantastic listening, and don’t necessarily succumb to the stereotype of scream every verse and sing the chorus, which the only song following that train of thought being “Seven Demons”, which also features screaming layered behind the singing, and it actually sounds good. The Absence have clearly gone for a more intense route with From Your Grave, and it works great here, leaving you with an album that is highly addicting as it is ass kicking. If you’ve never heard of this group before, then this is the perfect jump on point for you at any time in the band’s career, regardless of how much you may despise the marketing tactics used with it’s release.

01. Intro – 1:39
02. A Breath Beneath – 4:40
03. Necropolis – 4:21
04. From Your Grave – 4:15
05. Heaven Ablaze – 4:44
06. Summoning the Darkness – 5:24
07. Shattered (Instrumental) – 1:12
08. I, Deceiver – 4:35
09. My Ruin – 5:17
10. Seven Demons – 6:10
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.