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Strider – The Unfallen

The Unfallen
by Max Elias at 16 February 2021, 8:36 PM

STRIDER have a bit of a sad story—the band was going strong and was fairly prolific, but their tenure together was cut short by the death of one of their guitarists. So the bandleader (who goes by the nickname Atoragon) decided to release a final album of material that he’d been working on before his bandmate’s death, and that is The Unfallen. It is a closing of the band’s journey, and is also available for free, just like all of STRIDER’s past releases. STRIDER mix classic metal riffs, big melodies, and even keys with growling vocals and rough production to produce an interesting fusion of Traditional Metal and Melodic Death Metal. The first riff on “Queen of Blades” for example, sounds like it belongs on an early IRON MAIDEN album. The melodies are simple and soaring, adding an element of memorability to the mix.

There is also an undeniable modern edge to the compositions—the droning melody that begins the title track is one example. Droning melodies of any kind, especially moving octaves, always sound more modern metal influenced to me. “The Unfallen” also shows its modern edge by featuring shifts between growls and clean vocals, the latter of which bring to mind something like LINKIN PARK. Another hallmark of modern metal influence is the breakdown-y riffs that are used a lot (the ones that are basically just differently spaced chugs), which I do not like much. They don’t sound particularly inspired and have little weight to them.

Stronger riffing is found on songs like “Before Daybreak”, with its classic Melodic Death Metal triplet riffing. I also like the galloping riff that plays before the final chorus. At their strongest, I would describe STRIDER as a mix between Power Metal and Metalcore; the dynamic and triumphant riffing merges with harsher vocals and big melodies. One of the most powerful and melodic moments on the album is the neoclassical keyboard interlude on “The Hand of Gul’dan”, which in addition to showing off a little bit, compliments and further establishes the futuristic atmosphere set by the rest of the instrumentation and the lyrics. The futuristic aspect is prominent as well on “Sensory Deprivation”, the ballad of the album, which along with “Plan n.9” utilizes odd chord voicings to give the music a bit of a VOIVOD feel. The vocals on “Plan n.9” are even reminiscent of the famous sci-fi Canadian thrashers, though they are less nasal.

The album finishes with a serene instrumental called (somewhat self-explanatorily) “Semiacoustic Melody”. The soft, lilting arpeggiation is compounded by warm and classical-sounding keyboards in the background on occasion. It’s a very calming listen.

The album as a whole is not the best but it is certainly not bad either. I would have liked a bit more presence and dynamism in the guitars with a turn away from the modern metal side of things, but that’s down to personal preference. And considering that except for the keys, everything was played by one guy, I think the product holds up. It could have been produced a little better so that the intricacies of the riffs every instrument was playing were clearer, however.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Musicianship: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. The Madara Conspiracy
2. Queen of Blades
3. The Unfallen
4. Before Daybreak
5. The Hand of Gul’dan
6. Sensory Deprivation
7. Plan n.9
Semiacoustic - Melody
Atoragon – Guitars, drums, bass, vocals
Andrej Kutis – Keyboards
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 March 2021

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