Gardenian Soulburner

After releasing their debut on the French-based Listenable label in 1998, this Swedish quartet has returned with a slight direction change. While their debut was a speedier effort in the same realm as bands such as At The Gates or In Flames, for Soulburner the band has gone for a more melodic approach. This decision, in my opinion, was a bad one. By forsaking the pure energy of the past for melody, the band has knocked down their own intensity, making Soulburner a much less interesting listen. The decision to use the clean vocals of former Artch vocalist Erik Hawk on six of the album’s tracks is also something that does not work as well for the band. It makes them sound like they just want to be Iron Maiden. (Nuclear Blast)