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Souldrainer - Departure

Souldrainer
Departure
by David Hough at 23 January 2023, 8:51 PM

The Swedish melodic/symphonic death metal act, SOULDRAINER, recently released “Departure,” their fourth full-length album. When describing the album, the band has said:

 “DEPARTURE is a journey through your own dark fantasy where anything is possible and we have made sure that every song will leave you with darkness, hopelessness, emptiness, anger, and despair.”

This album indeed is a bit of a downer. I understand that metal isn’t always daisies and rainbows, but this album felt unnecessarily bleak. They have accomplished this theme quite well.

The first track, “Council Of Five,” has some well-written riffs, and Edvardsson’s vocals sound similar to those of Jens Kidman from MESHUGGAH. Unfortunately, the parallels to that band end there. The lead riffs are chunky, and the bass tone is superb. This opener sets the stage for the rest of the album quite well. It’s a shame that it is lacking in substance. What you have in this track is competent melodeath and precious little else to offer.

Weaver Of Mortal Dreams” is one of the better tracks on “Departure.” The guitars have adopted the Gothenburg sound. The keyboard layering over the guitar part is a high point as well. The chorus is fun and the vamps are also well-placed. While this track sounds good, it never reaches the heights achieved by the melodeath greats, OMNIUM GATHERUM and AMON AMARTH.

The title track is somewhat of a mixed bag. The vocals and riffs are well done, but the keyboards come in a little too early. The faster passages are excellent, but the interludes between those parts are severely lacking. That’s what you get with “Departure,” lots of trade-offs.

The penultimate track, “One Last Shot,” tackles the subject of suicide. The lyrics are pretty basic. This one is far removed from the tragic elegance of METALLICA’s “Fade To Black.” Instead, we get the metaphor of a lethal injection juxtaposed with that of a gunshot. It just comes off as a celebration of suicide with little reverence for its sensitivity.

End Of The World,” the album’s closer, is on the slower side. There is no symbolism here, as this track is literally about the end of the world. The keyboards are used well, but the guitar solo is pretty basic. The song ends with a sample of what seems to be an executioner speaking about death, followed by excessive vamping. This one didn’t do it for me either.

Departure” isn’t a bad album, per se. It just never rises above the level of “competent.” There are far better as well as far worse albums out there. There is only one track that I found overly satisfying. The rest kind of occupied a bland “middle ground” that just didn’t do it for me.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Council of Five
2. Where Angels Come to Die
3. Weaver of Mortal Dreams
4. Paint the World in Lies
5. Rats of the International Race
6. Departure
7. I Abort You
8. One Last Shot
9. End of the World
Lineup:
Marcus Edvardsson - Guitars, Vocals
Joakim Wassberg - Bass
Hugo Nylander - Drums
Gustaf Bennmarker - Guitars
Record Label: Black Lion Records
     


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