Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In My Embrace - Black Waters Deep (2016)

The debut full-length from Sweden's In My Embrace is a little short, but it's longer than their earlier released EP recording, Dead To Dust Descend. The material here is most certainly inspired by Dissection albums like The Somberlain and Storm Of The Light's Bane, but we could also equate them with acts like God Dethroned and Naglfar. There are also some modernisms here and there in the vein of core, but that's only in the song structure. Let's just say that some of this might feature a bit more groove than you're willing to wade through, but I personally wouldn't have considered it a detriment. Also, some of the tremolos come off with a notable potency as you'll notice on “Into Oblivion” which would have been a far more fitting way to open the record than the more modern-influenced title track. I think In My Embrace decided to incorporate more groove numbers onto the disc in order to differentiate them from Dissection, by which they can sound like a clone. Not that that's a bad thing, after all – some of the melodies seem to be right up there with some of Dissection's most memorable, as well as Naglfar who are as we know; quite similar. I could add Thulcandra, but we all know very well what those guys were trying to achieve.

So how much groove am I getting, Grim Lord? Well, let me tell you. Aside from the title track, you're getting “Of Ache and Sorrow” as well “Voyage Of Thoughts” which seem to also encroach upon doom, so it's not like these guys are playing blues. We also have a couple of traditional rock solos on the record, but they come backed by Tommy Holmer's session drumming, which is actually fantastic. Black Waters Deep is yet another case for why bands shouldn't be afraid to use a session drummer, especially in their case. When these guys move into black metal territory, Holmer's blasts really seem to accentuate that perfectly. Another piece of this puzzle that caught my attention was frontman Kenneth Larsson's ravenous vocal approach which fits very well here within the equally ravenous tunes that these guys can dish out. These performances are sometimes backed by guitarists Bosse Öhman and Johan Sjöblom which can add even more of a bite to the performance. The atmosphere of the record is rather bleak, but at times can be rather fierce and demonic depending on the piece. The disc can actually be quite bass-heavy as well, hence the groove sections I mentioned earlier. But even though bassist Jon Brundin is actually getting the kind of respect that most bassists deserve when it comes to this kind of music (this kind of blackened/melodic death metal has not been known for being very bass-heavy) there aren't any sections on this record that I feel take away from it's overall mood. Even when these guys channel their inner doom/death with “Next Chapter” it still retains an overall bleak and somewhat folk/black metal atmosphere, which is very important.

It can be clearly stated that there is at least some degree of variety here, but it's not so varied as to sound like a different band all the time. In My Embrace just want to showcase the fact that they are not a gothic metal act with a female singer, not a Dissection rip-off and not completely glued to one style of music. That to me says quite a bit and I feel that much was done within the span of thirty-four minutes. I won't say that all of the songs are my cup of tea and perhaps a little derivative of other familiar acts and styles, but I'm certainly not upset with that. You shouldn't be either. Black Waters Deep is the kind of record that only gets better with more listens, so give it at least one!

(10 Tracks, 34:00)


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