Meleeh

To Live And Die Alone

Written by: AP on 10/03/2010 22:10:25

When it comes to extreme music, Sweden stands second to none. What used to be specialised in melodic death metal now tampers with just about every subgenre of rock, punk and metal to produce bands that serve their transatlantic peers unapologetic triumph release after release. One has to ask why this is so - how can Swedish bands convey so much more emotion - and the answer is simple. Swedish bands focus on the essential: the music, the thoughts, the feelings - and not on waxing and polishing their sound to be pitch-perfect and catering to expectations.

Meleeh's third full-length "To Live and Die Alone" is a further testament to Sweden's standalone status in subterranean music, a blistering piece of hardcore the way it should be played: intense and bitterly political, but also tender and sore. Meleeh have kept chugging and mosh-mongering at bay and replaced these typical hardcore traits with a devastating atmosphere awash with darkened melody and heart wrenching rhetoric. As such Meleeh's expression is heartfelt and extremely personal, meandering in the same dreary soundscapes as Rise and Fall, Trapped Under Ice and the late Have Heart. The mood is hopelessly dystopian throughout, the sound raw and unforgiving thanks to a vocalist whose harrowing scream tears through the music in a most distressing manner - comparable to Mia Hope's Matt Wakefield (though not as piercing), Dead Swans' Nick Worthington, and even our own Artem Kushnirenko from She Is Malignant.

The music itself should give any fan of hardcore wood: a live-sounding mix swathes around subtle ringing melodies, lots of audible bass and wonderfully asynchronous drumming courtesy of Fredrik Gillhagen. A progressive and versatile album structure ensures that the alarming assaults of punk-fueled noise in "What I Carry With Every Heartbeat", "Hell's Mouth" and "To Die Alone" are counter balanced with fantastic pummel-and-drone in songs like "Vowbreaker", "To Live Alone" and album highlight "Trauma". Another fantastic feature is the band's clever continuity tricks, like the brief and understated relapses into the short introductory piece "Marmaverken" (an ominous, slightly distorted quietus which actually, remarkably, bears a resemblance to the beginning of Mastodon's song "Oblivion") that manifest themselves through the album, or simply the fact that despite its experimental stints, never once does the album stray from its determined course.

"To Live And Die Alone" is an album that requires attention and patience, and while it may not exactly reinvent the wheel, it rewards the stubborn with an absolutely monumental piece of modern hardcore, gradually revealing more and more detail on each iteration. Hardcore purists - you just got served.

8

Download: Vowbreaker, What I Carry With Every Heartbeat, Trauma, To Die Alone
For the fans of: Dead Swans, Defeater, Have Heart, Rise and Fall, Trapped Under Ice
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.02.2010
Black Star Foundation

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