Storm of Sorrows
Slave to the Slaves

Wow – here we have an unsigned act from Hamburg, Germany called Storm of Sorrows that labels need to snap to attention and watch, because these guys are loaded to the brim with talent. Their second LP, Slave to the Slaves really caught me off guard with the massive amount of skill contained within.

Melodic death metal may be the most apt descriptor, but this isn’t your typical Gothenburg fare, oh no – Slave to the Slaves is so much more than that; more interesting, more diverse and more extreme. Melding some black metal like elements with all the standards of the genre (soaring melodies, soul searing leads and solos, a growly/raspy vocal approach and aggressive drumming), Slave to the Slaves has an ominous feel to it through and through – a feeling of doom hovering over your head through all of it’s ten tracks – this isn’t “happy” melodeath – it’s almost depressing, but in a good way.

Each of these ten tracks is a winner. The first time through, I kept thinking “this is too good – we’re due for a slouch or a stinker” but as the album progressed, the quality remained. They put the biggest ass kicker up front with “The Art of Perfect Back-Stabbing”, which may as well have been called “The Art of Seamlessly Melding Extremity with Melody”, is led by blistering riffs and awesome melodic leads backed by ruthless double bass and blasts. With follow up track “Sweet Secrets” though, they begin to show some different colors – there are shades of light and dark to be discovered here and there that are reminiscent of Opeth. Around the 2/3 mark of the song, the aggressive stuff gives way to a beautiful acoustic piece that in turn fires right back into another level of intensity. Despite its placement (for anyone whose been keeping tabs, I’ve mentioned several times my disdain for this), the mid album instrumental “The Interment” is a haunting and eerie little number that works really well and could have easily found a place on an Opeth album – it basically serves as an intro piece to another standout track, “The Crows are Gathering”, a much slower track with a menacing atmosphere. Immediately following is “Unspoiled Sovereignty”, a track that rivals the opener in terms of sheer aggression. The solos in “Slave to the Slaves” and “Salvation Process” feature some of the most arresting guitar work I’ve heard all year – truly remarkable. With that latter song, which falls later in the album, they bring yet another new element to the table – clean vocals – very well done and fitting clean vocals which can also be heard in album closer “Devoured by Greed”, a track that’s just all over the place – up and down, through acoustic passages and more intense parts and back again.

It won’t be long before somebody comes running to snag these guys up – they have all the makings of a great band, and more than deserve it with Slave to the Slaves. Highly recommended.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
July 24th, 2008


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