Melt To Sand EP

Written by: PP on 16/06/2009 23:03:36

Aha, someone's been listening to quite a bit of In Flames while writing and recording their album? For "Melt To Sand" demo/EP (or full length? 7 songs and 28 minutes, I have no idea what to call it) is probably as shameless clone of "Colony" era In Flames material as I can think of from the top of my head, and they don't even come from Gothenburg! In all seriousness though, these guys really do copy the In Flames twin-guitar melodeath approach on all 7 tracks of the record for the most part, adding some quieter melodic interludes and some of the strangest sounding high pitch clean vocals I've heard from a male vocalist to date for some variation. More on those later.

As much as I don't like to say this in the hopes of not giving any signs of encouragement for any metalcore bands reading this, I'm happy to announce that Preach have attempted to clone the original melodic death metal sound of mid to late 90s In Flames quite successfully indeed. A song like "Elixir" is excellent in every way, starting from the awesome chorus that isn't instantly memorable but is a huge grower, to its fabulous melodic twin-guitar wankery that should have most heads nodding throughout the song. I mean all of this in a good way, by the way. The harsh-but-melodic growls immediately make you recall Anders Fridén from the days that his growl hadn't developed fully yet, but this actually works to Preach's advantage as I quite like the breaking sound that Carl has to make with his voice in order to have them sound melodic and brutal at the same time.

But that's not what makes me like Preach more than most Gothenburg-sounding artists.

What most certainly wasn't intentional when the band wrote these songs is the rough, demo-like production of the instruments which leaves the excellent-but-strangely melancholic clean vocals in spotlight. Or perhaps spotlight is not the right word to use here because they don't frequent all the tracks, but the thing is when they finally arrive during a chorus or a mellow part, they completely steal the show. On the first couple of listens this happens because there's an indescribable amount of melancholy in the voice that'll just stop you in your tracks because you just don't hear stuff like that normally on record. Only a couple of male vocalists in the world are successfully able to do what Carl does here (most notably the Sinamore and Type O Negative singers) - the high-pitch vocals sound impressively macho despite being filled with melancholy - and once you've spent a few listens getting used to them, the sad melody found in them will awe you listen after listen. There's only so much that words can do to describe it for you, so I suggest you take a quick listen for "Elixir" on the player below to see what I mean.

All the nice words aside though, there's still a couple of things that Preach need to work on before I'll award them one of the high-grades reserved to their idols In Flames. One is the crunchy production, as it gives a somewhat amateurish flavour to the otherwise awesome twin-guitar oriented melodeath sound. The second part is making a better balance with the clean vocals and the growling. Less of the latter in favour of the former will make their sound even more interesting than it is already, or as an alternative, the growls just need to improve into decipherable mode. See "Undoing Ruin" by Darkest Hour for a great example. Otherwise, this might be one of the most promising demo's I've heard in a long while.

Download: Elixir
For the fans of: In Flames, In Flames & In Flames. OK maybe some Soilwork and Arch Enemy as well.
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.04.2009

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