Cinders Fall

The Reckoning EP

Written by: AP on 04/10/2009 00:09:33

While most upstarts of the melodic metallic kind today tend to opt for playing metalcore rather than reproduce the sacred Gothenburg sound, out of fear perhaps, of not wanting to step on anyone's toes and be accused of cheap idolatry, there are a handful of bands not afraid to take what the Swedes started and continue its success. Enter Cinders Fall, a London-based melodic death metal band whose entire new disc could be described as a kind of honorary revisiting of the In Flames discography.

Seriously, this band couldn't sound more like their idols if they tried, and while this is one of those rare occasions where I whip out Jeremy Clarkson's excellent words on the new Jaguar sports coupés uncanny similarity to an Aston Martin equivalent, it does beg the question, why shouldn't you listen to the creators of the genre instead? Jeremy answered his own rhetorical question by pointing out that it's not exactly a bad thing for a man to be told he looks too much like Brad Pitt either, and considering that the music of Cinders Fall tends to sound like pre-Reroute era brilliance rather than the hyper melodic and glossy In Flames we heard on "Soundtrack to Your Escape" and "A Sense of Purpose", it certainly is no insult to be told one looks like Brad Pitt in his younger years.

Admittedly "I Inside" sounds almost exactly like "The Mirror's Truth" without its clean sung choruses, but thankfully these boys realized in time there would be no getting away with plagiarism and wrote four tracks worth of their own material as well. Sort of. One just needs to look past the fact that these are no reinventings of the genre, and remember that Darkest Hour and Dimension Zero owe immense amounts of influence-royalties to At The Gates, yet both have released one album after the other to huge critical acclaim. It's not always about reinventing the wheel; sometimes it's about attaching the wheel to an axle and getting somewhere.

While there is no shame in making catchy and accessible music, these core bands today make it so easy to hate them. Over-produced, auto-tuned, cut-to-measure youngsters who pluck all the right strings with teenagers of the alternative disposition and exist in a petting zoo environment - they're cute and cuddly, and even adults sometimes venture in there to amuse themselves, but it's almost impossible to take seriously. Cinders Fall succeed in being catchy without selling their soul, providing accessibility via instrumentation and mood rather than simplistic sing alongs. So much, in fact, that even the shrieking vocals don't render the band's songs unmemorable. Anthony Masters masters that sufficiently extreme, yet comfortably clean vocal technique that makes Anders Fridén and Mikael Stanne such fantastic vocalists.

This is what most people want In Flames to still sound like, and yet Cinders Fall manage to wrap the patrimony of the classic Gothenburg scene into a modern and fresh covering. Beautiful, enthralling melodies swim side by side with a robust aggression in a hypnotic, medium-paced tempo, accompanied by ceaseless harsh vocals that never make the leap into a melodic chorus. According to the band's promotional material, the lineup includes a keyboard player also, but his presence in the mix is so minute and subtle that had I not mentioned it, you'd probably not have noticed (except in the title track, which involves a brief piano tune here and there). Not just because of its lack of strong presence, but also because you are likely to be drooling over the fantastic duality that guitarists James Bartram and Ben Sullivan provide.

So what should we make of this Gothenburg wankery? Should I recommend you to instead be checking out some of that original, legendary stuff? Probably, but given that most readers who have gotten this far in the review are already familiar with those bands and albums, why not accept this band's honest and heartfelt attempt at keeping the sound alive? Cinders Fall pay a tribute to one of the most celebrated sub-genres in metal and they play it damn well. For once the hype issued by UK's larger alternative magazines is not undue.


Download: Dead Zone, The Sorrow, Beyond Existence, The Reckoning

For the fans of: Dark Tranquillity, Dimension Zero, In Flames

Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.09.2009


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