Sweden is known for its melodic death metal exports. Swedish death metal isn’t so much a label that defines origin as it is its own category and style. At The Gates, In Flames, Soilwork and Dark Tranquility are all big names in the genre. Cipher System (formerly known as Eternal Grief) has been kicking around that scene for fifteen years now and they just released their second full length album “Communicate the Storms.”
Their first album, “Central Tunnel 8” was a fine example of melodic Swedish death metal, and “Communicate the Storms” builds on that foundation and, in my opinion, shows they can hold their own against anyone else in the genre. I mean, give it a listen, what’s not to like here?
The music is heavy, melodic and very polished; everything we’ve come to expect from this style. The production is great and the mix gives the songs an airy feeling that gives the impression of open space. The drums, bass and guitar create their own bond together while the keyboards weave in and around adding to the feeling of space, depth and additional melody. The vocals sit perfectly enveloped in a mix of all the other elements. The singing style is harsh, but is done so…cleanly… that understanding the words is no problem. There are some clean vocals as well, but they are not as prevalent as the harsh. The lead guitar work is the melodic icing on the cake.
All of the above adds up to an album that is masterfully crafted to be a perfect example of the duality of melodic death metal. One the one side of the coin it is heavy, angry and brutal, but on the other side you have technical skill, melody and the polished mix that binds it all together.
For awhile now I’ve been kind of burned out on this style because of all the imitators that came along and diluted the sound with a glut of mediocre albums. “Communicate the Storms” reminds me what made this style so great in the first place. Check it out.