By Night Burn the Flags

While groups like Textures and Byzantine push the boundaries of what merits the "core” tag, By Night deliver a considerably ballsier effort which, despite its distinctly metallic technicality and Swedish origin, digs its toes firmly into a raw, convicted, vaguely old-school delivery the majority of modern metalcore bands lack. Adrian Westlin’s vocals, while never straying from a monotone At The Gates-meets-Integrity roar, steer clear of the oft-attempted, rarely pulled off emo and death metal tangents that diminish the credibility of many up-and-coming acts. The band plays circles around the competition, whether locked into a crushing slab of Meshuggah mosh, a rare burst of dizzying death/thrash, or a contemplative, enveloping instrumental augmented by a surprisingly unobtrusive strings section. The tinny, powerless production struggles to hold them back, but the dazzling musicianship and clever songwriting ultimately persevere. If this is the next step for the genre, it should be welcomed with open arms because there are far too many weeping women, crushed roses and broken hearts bombarding us these days. (Lifeforce)