(This is TheMadIsraeli’s enthusiastic review of the debut album of Australia’s Remission, which was released late last year.)
While I’ve enjoyed the stylistic turn to a degree, melodic death metal in recent years has become too fucking slow and has increasingly lost its sense of technicality. Everyone who knows me after years on this site is aware that I’m as much of a fan of the melodic death-doom formula as anyone, but I must confess I miss what got me captivated by the style in the first place. It was the ability of the music to hit a threshold of being fast and technical, yet remaining emotive all the same.
The olden-days bands wrote riffs that were basically 20-second hooks, where the entire passage stuck into your head while skank beats and the like pounded away at high speed. If it wasn’t that, it was an extremely modern translation of British Heavy Metal into an even heavier context. I really miss this about melodic death metal of the ’90s and early 2000s, and it’s a bit dismaying that the style has mostly seemed to die off in interest.
Remission are a four-piece hailing from Australia. They have made a fully committed head-first plunge into that old school, fast-as-fuck, technical and emotive brand of melodic death metal that put the genre on the map. Channeling the craft of bands like Arsis, The Absence, and Arch Enemy, with some of the old school metalcore might of bands like Darkest Hour and Himsa, Remission are one of the most important bands coming into the 2020s as far as restoring an arguably almost-lost style to its former glory. If you couldn’t tell, I’m KIND OF stoked on the band’s debut The Tether’s End.
Make no mistake, though, this isn’t “melodeath”, which we kind of use around here to describe a sort of watered-down, more commercial take on the style. This is exactly the kind of thing you would’ve heard 15 or so years ago out of Sweden or elsewhere. This record has a pretty effective opening triad in “Mother War”, “Temples”, and “Submit To The Order” which kind of tells you what the album is all about. Lots of technical pedal-point, death metal, and thrash riffing, obsessive amounts of guitar harmonies, and unrelenting speed. I think if you’re not sold on this album within those three songs, it’s safe to say this won’t be your thing.
However, if it is your thing and you’re just discovering it for the first time, The Tether’s End may become one of the first great albums of 2020 for you, as it has become for me. It follows a trend of hearkening back to something old, but still sounding thoroughly modern, and in no way simply attempting to ape their influences. This is THE melodic death metal record of the year to hear up to this point, not merely welcome, but a timely and fantastic album paying suitable tribute to a by=gone era that maybe this album is signaling the return of.
You must listen to this. It isn’t hot off the presses — it came out back in November — but albums have always tended to get swallowed up in the void in the last two months of the previous year. Now’s the time to get on board.