Absence Riders of the Plague

It takes about one minute into the first song, with its scissor beats, scratchy screamed vocals and heavy yet melodic guitar sound and riffs, for ennui to set in as the listener exudes a deep sigh and wonders, "why, oh why do labels keep releasing stuff like this?” And it must be said that the lads in the Absence, a young band from Tampa, Florida, are a talented bunch because this is solid stuff. And while it may be enjoyable for a song or so, this disc begins to wear out its welcome pretty fast, even if those guitar slides in "Dead and Gone” provide at least some originality, if only for four seconds. "Echoes” is the best song here, with a memorable chorus and tons of good riffs. Apart from that it’s standard melodic, fuzzy, Gothenburg-influenced death metal with hooks galore that’s great for newcomers just discovering the subgenre but for grizzled vets, it’s just going to sound like so many able but redundant bands we’ve been hearing for the past ten years. (Metal Blade)