METTADONE – Rotten Flattery

METTADONE – Rotten Flattery

Nowadays it is getting increasingly difficult to come up with an effective heavy metal moniker. Sometimes it seems all the good names had been taken already. Enter Mettadone – not just an excellent sounding name but one which, when pronounced, suggests two different aspects of this Ukraininian death/doom metal ensemble. Indeed, Mettadone is an interesting combination of Malevolent Creation’s "The Fine Art Of Murder" and 90’s Paradise Lost, and, while their 1st album was more gothic leaning than death metal, "Rotten Flattery" emphasizes more of the death metal side rather than gothic/doom and the result is an excellent death/doom record that is memorable from the first listen while highly technical and difficult to replicate.

 From the opening notes of "Mind’s Prisoner" one realizes that "Rotten Flattery" is an exceptional album. The death metal being front and center is highly reminiscent of first Paradise Lost (Lost Paradise) and first My Dying Bride (As The Flower Withers) in terms of brutal and rhythimically challenging material which would fall flat were not for the section as fantastic as Alexander Chernyakhovsky (bass) and Unknown (drummer, with no real name given), although by no means are we to discredit the fabulous guitar duo, Evgeniy Shamarin (also vocalist) and Sergey Baskakov especially in regards to the excellent melodic solos recalling Gregor MacIntosh (Paradise Lost). The verse riff is Dyscarnate-ian and the track is already catchy enough but takes on a new dimension with the melodic riffs a’la Paradise Lost "Shades Of God/Icon" interspersed in between the brutality. "Obscurity Of Hypocrisy" brings the melodic aspect which recalls Soul Embraced’s "This Is My Blood" or Hypocrisy’s "The Fourth Dimension" with the aforementioned Malevolent Creation "The Fine Art Of Murder" vibe, all the more because the vocalist/guitarist Evgeniy sounds a lot like Bret Hoffman and this is the influence most prevalent on the whole album.

The first two tracks are instantly memorable and pleasing but the favorite is the seemingly central composition "Pray For Help" which recalls Heaven Shall Burn’s "Numbing The Pain" in structure and has a surprisingly supermelodic clean vocal-driven chorus that recalls Dimmu Borgir’s "Spiritual Black Dimensions" or Paradise Lost’s "One Second", and leads into the most technically challenging "On The Verge" which also uses similar clean vocal-driven chorus where Evgeniy sounds like Marilyn Manson, although the track gets so extreme it gets nearly deathcore-ish by its end. "In A Funeral Home" is where the two aspects: the deathly Malevolent Creation and melodic gothic/doom of 90s Paradise Lost meet in a most balanced way, both memorable in their own right. The last track that deserves your attention is the (relatively) short bonus "He’ll Not Be Alive", rightly chosen as a bonus since it emphasizes the melodic doom over the extreme death metal, although it still ends up one of the most satisfying and memorable tracks.

The remaining 3 tracks are where the flaws lie. Both, the Gojira-sounding "Act Of Revenge" and "Orphan", featuring an excellent solo a’la Death’s "Vacant Planets", are very good songs where Mettadone brings all the different aspects of their sound together but the end result is not quite as, shall we say, elegant or ordered as the aforementioned standouts. On the other hand, "Untrue Entity" is the weakest link where nothing seems to stand out and the extreme technicality of the dominant death metal makes me want to skip to the excellent "Pray For Help".

On "Rotten Flattery" Mettadone reaches into classic death metal and doom and combines the two into a fairly unique and technically very proficient album. They can shred and blast with the best death metallers without forgetting about good melodies, memorability and insightful if a little challenging songwriting, sometimes a little on the progressive side. I wish they would expand the clean melodic side whilst reducing the craziness of some of the rhythms but hopefully that will come later. "Rotten Flattery" is already one of the freshest and most impressive death/doom works of this year.