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Act of Denial - Negative

Act of Denial
by Mark Machlay at 14 September 2021, 9:51 AM

New all-star melodic death meatal supergroup ACT OF DENIAL have released their explosive debut “Negative” this past August 13th. The group was formed in 2020 and is composed of guitarist and songwriter, Voi Cox of KOZIAK and VICTIM, guitarist and lyricist Luger from BENIGHTED and KOZIAK, vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid from SOILWORK, bassist Steve Di Giorgio from TESTAMENT and DEATH, drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner from SEPTICFLESH and keyboardist John Lönnmyr from THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA. Of the new collaboration, Cox and Luger said, “This is now just a continuation of what we have been doing all our lives and only now in our ‘older age’ we have done something serious. Of course, when it comes to music, at least for us, we wanted to record an album with some of the best musicians in metal music and the ones that we listened to when we were kids.” They also comment about the unique circumstances that created the band in the first place, saying, “if there wasn't this COVID pandemic this would have never happened since all of these guys would have been on tour or busy with their own bands.”

ACT OF DENIAL have been steadily dropping singles for their debut album for the past year. First single “Puzzle Heart” was released over a year ago on September 4th, 2020, followed by “Controlled” that same month, “Down the Line” in October, “Slave” on March 1st, 2021, and “Your Dark Desires” just this past July. They are not alone in the collaboration, as the album features several notable guest appearances such as Bobby Koelble from DEATH, Peter Wichers formally from SOILWORK, Matias ‘IA’ Eklundh, from FREAK KITCHEN and Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal from GUNS ‘N Roses and SONS OF APPOLO who all contributed solos to the album. As if there wasn’t already enough star power on this album, the group also employed the help of legendary producer Fredrik Nordström – famous for working with a multitude of Swedish death and melo-death metal bands such as ARCH ENEMY, AT THE GATES, and IN FLAMES - and mixed at Studio Fredman.

Given the pedigree and varied styles of the various members of ACT OF DENIAL, it was honestly surprising to hear how much “Negative” sticks to a very aggressive power metal-ish, aggressive version of melo-death, very similar to the style of CHILDREN OF BODOM. They also tend towards the work of SOILWORK not just because of Stid’s vocals but the ferocious verse from the second single “Controlled” mimics their style fairly closely. The album starts off with a bang with lead single “Puzzle Heart” and never seems to let off the gas, clearly heard in the production which runs extremely hot, wearing out my ears after the first couple tracks. But the power metal side really comes out on tracks like “Slave” and “Lost Circle”, the latter filled with beautiful synth work provided by Lönnmyr. The album is filled with hooks and if your ears can handle the harshness and loudness, you’ll be treated to aggressiveness and particularl trend toward the Gothenberg melo-death sound that you don’t often hear too much of these days, now that bands like IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILITY have seemed to transition away from that sound.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Puzzle Heart
2. Controlled
3. Down That Line
4. In The Depths Of Destruction
5. Negative
6. Slave
7. Lost Circle
8. Reflection Walls
9. Your Dark Desire
10. Clutching At Rays Of The Light
Steve Di Giorgio – Bass
Kerim “Krimh” Lechner – Drums
Voi Cox – Guitars & Programming
Luger – Guitars
John Lönnmyr – Keyboards
Björn “Speed” Strid - Vocals
Record Label: Crusader Records


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