Absence From Your Grave

The Absence are an At The Gates rip-off band. One might question the usage of such a bold and typically deprecating statement so early on in a generally positive critical piece, but this is a point that the band clearly wish to reinforce early on, right down to vocalist Jamie Stewart’s uncanny resemblance to Tomas Lindberg (all in the signature full beard). Aside from this, From Your Grave is a solid entry in a rapidly dying subgenre. It cannot be expressed vehemently enough how refreshing it is to hear a group, particularly on Metal Blade, playing this style competently without needlessly dropping burly, obnoxious breakdowns throughout the record like so many rancid, stale breadcrumbs. Well-timed bursts of more accessible, hooky leads à la mid-period In Flames strengthens the replay value of the songs immensely, not to mention a clear, bass heavy and thick production from Hate Eternal front-man Erik Rutan (Into The Moat, Soilent Green). The momentary appearance of clean vocals on album closer "Seven Demons” weakens the disc’s overall upfront, staunchly traditional attack, and unfortunately leaves a slightly sour taste in the listener’s mouth. All piddling complaints aside, those interested in hearing a proper homage to the widely acknowledged inspiration for the American metalcore movement would do well to not let this one slip by. (Metal Blade)