By The Patient

Premonitions

Written by: AP on 25/09/2012 11:30:35

On 2011's "Servants", By the Patient came close to perfecting the modern death metal sound, whilst successfully incorporating their own ideas and nuances into it. When it was announced that the sophomore release would follow suite just one year later, my expectations were that the band would simply focus on their strengths and present us with an improved take on that album's sound. Turns out such standard expectations were the stuff of folly, as not only have By the Patient done just that, they've also completely reworked their palette and produced in "Premonitions" a successor to behold; one that, together with their recent signature to the Canadian Deathbound Records, is sure to catapult them into wider international recognition at last.

There is bound to be some discussion with regard to the merits of this new sound, as it effectively transcends the traditional preception of what contemporary death metal can be and casts the band into a much more melodic soundscape. There are nuggets of old scattered amongst of course, such as the mid-album "Eyes" - one of the weaker songs on offer here, though it does grind into a solid groove - but the overwhelming majority of tracks explore dramatically different musical territories than "Servants", ranging from the barren grandeur of "Veil of Depression" and the title track to the strong post-metal histrionics of "Oceans of Emptiness". Rather than drawing inspiration exclusively from the likes of Behemoth, Job for a Cowboy and Misery Index, there are entirely different forces at play here, with the recurrent, epic tremolo riffs inspiring comparisons to the Scandinavian strains of death metal practiced by Amon Amarth and Unleashed, and the slow burning pummel of the aforementioned "Oceans of Emptiness" and "Where Time Collapsed" bearing a distinct Cult of Luna signature.

This transition from playing a very American style of death metal to embracing their Scandinavian origins was a brilliant decision, as By the Patient are no longer confined to just playing death metal better than most, but can now boast to have a unique, identity-forging sound. You may recall that some of the finest and most recognizable moments on "Servants" were the lengthy instrumental sections full of free-flowing melodies and blackened atmosphere; on "Premonitions" those have been given the highest priority, so that very little of the album is actually characterized by the punishing pummel of old. Fear not - blastbeats are still the order of the day most of the time, and drum aficionados are once again likely to find a lot to rave about in Adam Schønemann's textured percussion and the excellent thick drum sound courtesy of producer Jacob Bredahl. The music remains extreme, constantly bordering on Norwegian black metal, but the strong melodic gradient gives it a newfound personality.

It is not often that an album can sustain its quality from beginning to end, but with "Premonitions" By the Patient achieve just that. In the one-and-a-half years it has taken them to write the album, countless tracks have no doubt been sifted out in favour of the nine featured here, and the result is a staggering display of consistency - from "A Distorted Mirror Image" to the brilliant progressive closing piece "Forests". In short: "Premonitions" is Scandinavian death metal at its finest, and certainly one of the best and most mature death metal albums to come out of Denmark for a long time.

8

Download: A Distorted Mirror Image, Veil of Depression, Premonitions, Oceans of Emptiness, Forests
For the fans of: Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Unleashed
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.09.2012
Deathbound Records

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