The Absence – From Your Grave (CD)

The drama that The Absence create during the intro track for “From Your Grave” do not allow anyone to forecast the metal/progressive sound of “A Breath Beneath”. This first vocal track seems to mix together the best parts of Lamb of God with Blind Guardian to make break-neck speed and a solid musicianship mesh into something new an exciting. With guitar/drum dynamics as exciting as those present on “A Breath Beneath”, The Absence show a certain strength in repetition where most other bands would tend to fall into self-parody.

“Necropolis” does not have the dynamic range that really marked “A Breath Beneath”, but does contain some guitar lines that soar above the general sound present on the track. The nice use of scales on the title track are destined to be reminiscent of both Queen and early Kiss; while the fuzzier, heavier guitars create a much darker sound than the glam-rock of either of the two previously mentioned acts, there still is no doubt that The Absence draws some influence from them. Each of the tracks maintains a radio-friendly sound that really works well with the strong arrangements and instrumentation found. The only foreseeable problem that one can come up when they put on “From Your Grave” is that some of the tracks tend to morph into one another. It is not that The Absence slacks off on any point of the disc, but the similarity in sound between the tracks on “From Your Grave” is enough to really get tracks to congeal into a large, shapeless mess.

The best thing that The Absence can do – and they do do during the instrumental “Shattered” – is completely change their style and give listeners a brief respite from the typical fare. “Shattered” is only seventy-two seconds, and even that really does not have enough in the way of experimentation to push the track into the victory column. However, the break-neck tempo of the late-track disc “I, Deceiver” recoups some of this lost luster in its brutal, scaled-down sound. There are not the minor derivations into progressive metal as have been present in previous tracks, but this new turn shows that the band can sound completely fresh if they just modify their sound slightly. “From Your Grave” is a good starting point for The Absence, and while there are some minor problems that the band should work out before bringing another album out to the world, these intense cuts are played with a talent that ensures this band will be making music for years to come.

Top Tracks: A Breath Beneath, I Deceiver

Rating: 6.1/10

The Absence – From Your Grave / 2005 Metal Blade / 10 Tracks / http://www.theabsence.com / http://www.metalblade.com / Reviewed 13 October 2005

[JMcQ]

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