Pictured
The Strand in Time

Remember in the late 90s when In Flames and Dark Tranquility were exploding? When Children of Bodom were fresh and awesome and young energetic, but short lived melodic death metal bands like Lothlorien, Auberon, Ebony Tears, Embracing, and Eucharist were releasing killer albums? Well, if you long for those days of bouncy, busy, solo filled, peppy melodic death metal, then France’s Pictured is here to take you back to 1997.

The Strand in Time is pure late 90s melodic death metal bliss. It’s chock full of happy, bouncy melodies, a few synths, some killer shreddage and a an overall sheen that’s about as late 90s  NWSDM as I’ve heard from a modern act. But it has a real and raw energy as opposed to some of the over produced and scene -ish  bands of today (Marionette, Zonaria, Blinded Colony, Sonic Syndicate, etc) . There’s not a drop of core or any thing remotely trendy or gimmicky (no eyeliner here) , just a pure, riff and solo based homage to the genre’s hey day.

It’s also a very fun album, with no pretenses of being anything other than a nod to early Dark Tranquility and In Flames. The oodles of dual melody lines, killer solos render a truly nostalgic feeling without being forced or contrived. The foot tapping, air guitar playing energy of the album is hard to restrain, even with the more mundane, if entertaining  songs. About 2 minutes into opener “Another”, you get your first glimpse of the bands nifty Alexi Laiho-ish solo work, and they never look back.

The aptly titled “Metal” further cements the early Bodom aura, before a delicate piano intro starts “The Howling Forest”, and you start to get more of a The Jester Race/Skydancer vibe with the more somber, but gorgeously layered gait before things get a little more urgent. A few so so tracks in “Black Bile” and “To Hell and Back” stifle the albums mid stage, but the absolutely classic sounding trot of “Curses” brought the album back to life with  a real sense of nostalgia as does “The Dwelling” with is stern stop start march and jangly leads. “Stranger” ups the intensity with a more thrashy but still melodic pace before the title track wraps things up with a really nice mid pace canter that wraps up a really enjoyable, nostalgic album.

 

 

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 19th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Storm King

    I need this. That is all.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I cannot believe that any band would call themselves “Pictured.” If you have a photo of them in an article, it’d say “France’s Pictured (Pictured)”…and that’s just silly.


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