Los Sin Nombre

Blind Leading Blind

Written by: AP on 21/02/2010 01:33:59

Do not be fooled by the Spanish name - Los Sin Nombre are as Swedish as Pippi Longstocking: an intense, melodic product of the Gothenburg metal scene who despite their best efforts do nothing much but justice to their moniker, which translates to The Nameless. You see, even though melodic death metal was once considered an innovative movement, bands hoping to distill from its glorious past come a dime a dozen these days, some more successful than others. Just in the last few years we've had Sonic Syndicate, Degradead, Cinders Fall and Marionette (to mention only a few) put out albums that, had they been released in the mid-90s, would have raised some brows, but which ended up blending into a growing population of melodeath clones instead.

Such bands tend to fall into one of two categories: (a) those who hope to advance the genre with forward-thinking ideas (for example the addition of electronic samples), and (b) those who adopt a more retrospective approach and mimic the sound pioneered by At The Gates. Surprisingly Los Sin Nombre falls into a kind of grey zone between the two, which is to say that their music sways between intensely furious old school riffing and a resounding atmosphere with the result that comparisons to Soilwork are inevitable. Anyone who has heard Soilwork, however, will agree that sounding like them is not a drawback. On the contrary: Los Sin Nombre may have compromised on originality, but the songs on their debut album "Blind Leading Blind" have enough stamina to hold the band afloat.

"Enemy" for example is superb - a slow-moving epic which makes excellent use of quiet/loud dynamics with haunting clean verses and distressing, multi-layered screams in the chorus bringing to mind the classic "Ordinary Story" by In Flames. "Wounds" carries this idea further with a minimalist post-metal complexion that reminds me of At The Soundawn at their most desolate, and contrasting these pieces with the straightforward, staccato-powered execution of songs like "Bleed" and "Raised in Anger" and the groove-laden riffing in "Our Daily Bread" and "Taker of Innocence" reveals an ample amount of versatility in Los Sin Nombre's songwriting. Throughout the album impressions alternate between "Colony"-era In Flames, a slightly less intrusive Lamb of God and Soilwork minus the electronics - which looks like an impressive cocktail on paper.

Something that is prone to debate, but which in my opinion forms an integral part of the band's climatic sound, is the use of desperately wailing clean vocals in a number of the songs. These are not awe-inspiring as such, but do a great deal to develop the atmosphere of defeat that reigns over the album. This atmosphere is what gives "Blind Leading Blind" its character but alas, as I mentioned in the preamble to this review, Los Sin Nombre will probably have a difficult time setting themselves apart from the huge number of bands already practicing in the genre. It's a shame because the nameless Swedes show tremendous potential, and it would be a waste to let such promise go untapped. Here's to hoping for the best.


Download: Bleed, Enemy, Raised in Anger, Wounds
For the fans of: Cinders Fall, In Flames (old), Soilwork
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.11.2009
Sound Pollution

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