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Across The Burning Sky - The End Is Near

Across The Burning Sky
The End Is Near
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 08 December 2016, 7:59 AM

Coming from the heavier end of the Melodeath genre, Sweden’s ACROSS THE BURNING SKY inject a much-needed layer of grim authenticity back into an increasingly mainstream movement. They owe a major debt to the giants of the scene, but they do away with clean singing altogether and are far more aggressive, if a bit less polished. “The End Is Near” is an uncompromising and nasty version of Death Metal that seems to have bypassed everything that’s been released post-2001. It’s not a classic, but aside from the fact the song titles all come straight out of the “Heavy Metal book of cliches,” it’s a very respectable debut.

Once the instrumental intro “The Death March” is out the way, the album plunges straight into the maelstrom with “Demons Rising.” A fast, raw and cathartic blast of head-banging fury, this song sets the stage nicely and tells you everything you need to know about the band. Thanks to some excellent guitar work, there’s a rich seam of melody running through it and while the Black Metal-stylings of vocalist Aki make the lyrics nigh on indistinguishable, it’s surprisingly easy to get into. Only the utterly depraved would describe this as ‘catchy,’ but it’s more accessible than it initially appears.

Towards The Sky” is similarly entertaining and has a killer riff at the beginning. It’s straight-up, uncomplicated Death Metal where their expertise in shifting tempos is put to good use; the emphasis is never less than remorseless violence but they work light and shade in such a way it stands out nicely from the opening song. The bruising “Sacrifice” follows and gets straight to the point with one of the fastest riffs in their arsenal. Clocking in at a brisk two and a half minutes, it flashes by quickly and leads straight into the methodical stomp of “Call Of The Ancient Gods.” This one is a slower, ominous track that nods towards Doom Metal without ever fully embracing it, before they force the accelerator back to the floor for the maniacal “The Fourth Deadly Sin.”

This all happens within the first eighteen minutes of the record and unless you pause to relax your aching neck muscles, “The End Is Near” is very, very easy to digest in one sitting. It’s only slightly longer than “Reign In Blood” but besides being a bit unrefined in places, that’s the only real complaint to be had. ACROSS THE BURNING SKY don’t do anything earth-shattering on their debut, but they have made a straight-to-the-gas melodic Death Metal album that’s full of youthful energy. They’d go down a storm supporting KATAKLYSM and if you think Death Metal has got too pristine recently, give these grubby cave-dwelling miscreants a go.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 6
Memorability: 7

3 Star Rating

1. The Death March
2. Demons Rising
3. Towards The Sky
4. Sacrifice
5. Call Of The Ancient Gods
6. The Fourth Deadly Sin
7. Shadows Embrace
8. Ashes To Ashes
9. Bloodlines
10. The End
11. The Final March
Hakon – Bass
Sethor – Drums
Zodiac – Guitars
Matte – Guitars
Aki - Vocals
Record Label: MDD Records


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