ALGAION – Exthros
Algaion have been around for 20 years, yet "Exthros" is only their third full-length release and the first in 13 years. Either they are supremely lazy or they have been frying other fish…
Word has it that with previous CD’s Algaion had more of a black metal sound, but this album falls squarely in the Swedish melodic death metal camp. Add a generous helping of Rotting Christ and you probably have a good idea what is on offer here.
The first thing that hits you is the incisive guitar sound – clear, bright and full of harmony. Whether setting up a background chug or pealing off into one of the many accomplished melodic leads, the guitar work is highly effective.
Although the first few tracks of "Exthros" are pretty impressive, it is only really from track 5 or so, the exceptional “The Last of Cursed Days,” that Algaion really begin to stand out and you relies you are listening to something quite special. Original riffs and structures mean the music sounds fresh and the guys abilities as songwriters help them to pack each track with a balance of power and emotion.
After a couple of spins, the similarity to RC wore off and I was reminded of "The Gallery"-era Dark Tranquility – which I consider to be a very good thing. This is one of those albums that you learn to trust, because it hits the spot every time. For my money, this is the best melodic DM release of 2010.