ABSENCE - Riders Of The Plague

Absence - Riders Of The Plague

12 songs
55:26 minutes
***** ****
Metal Blade


Riders Of The Plague is the second album by The Absence, a Florida based five-piece playing an awesome combination of death and thrash metal. Their debut From Your Grave was already a promising debut, but the band has topped it with their new CD. Even if The Absence are coming from the home base of US death metal, their music has a strong Scandinavian melodic death metal touch. The album was recorded in the USA but mastered in Sweden.

The album starts furiously with its title track, a fast song with brutal and angry shouts, but wonderful melodic guitar riffs as already known from the debut. It’s followed by my personal favourite Dead And Gone which presents The Absence from a more technical and complex side. The Murder, with guest appearances by James Murphy (Death, Cancer,…) and two Scar Symmetry members, has an acoustic intro before turning into an overwhelming metal assault with incredible drum parts. The album contains some more aggressive tracks like Awakening with an enormously high amount of first class guitar solos and the Amon Amarth inspired Merciless. If you prefer the more melodic side of The Absence, you should listen to World Divides and The Victorious Dead, two tracks located somewhere between At The Gates and In Flames. The cover version of the Testament classic Into The Pit can’t of course reach the original, but it’s nevertheless a welcome addition.

What distinguishes The Absence from other melodic death metal bands is the fact that they don’t put too much emphasis on the typical change of verses and choruses. The songs are mainly dominated by fast and brutal riffs and extremely melodic guitar solos which you would normally expect on a Shrapnel record. This mixture sounds strange, but the arrangements are working perfectly. The two instrumental tracks of the album aren’t bad, but don’t contribute anything essential to one of the better melodic death metal albums I have across lately.

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