It’s a pretty safe jaunt just a little ways off the mercilessly beaten path, the Gothenburg melo- meets nameless brootal-death on the second coming of Sight of Emptiness. This is a style I rarely give much time anymore but, in sampling Absolution of Humanity, I found there was something in there that begged a dedicated listen, so I gave myself up to it.
So there’s a boatload of that all-too-familiar Swedish melody wrapped around an inoffensively generic brutal core and I really don’t care for the bifurcated vocal approach that pits passable gutturals against a predictably annoying upper register screech, though it isn’t quite terrible. And the production renders the drums with the potency of instant oatmeal. The riffs, though, are often robust and fun and the rhythm section is ballsy, handily pushing along the record’s gritty, throwback melodeath sound.
The songs do really well at times and stumble all over themselves at others, though the rights tend to carry more weight than the wrongs. The anemic chorus and too-long-and-tired breakdown outro on “Witness of Your Murder” aren’t enough, for example, to completely founder the buoyant fervor of that song’s primary riff. And Absolution outlasts its black-eyed Lamb of God codependency (e.g., “Judge Me Today… Die Tomorrow”) by pulling a ripping bridge/solo set out of its ass on the follow-up title track. That last one and “Faceless Dream” suggest Sight of Emptiness are at least a little audacious, as they channel just enough of Novembers Doom to draw an unexpected air of melancholic mystery. But it’s the “Funeral March” that reveals the band’s bravery. Its three-and-a-half minutes of pure, quietly somber dirge are way out of place on this album, and its placement smack in the middle only highlights the problem. Even so, it is good and, together with the eclectic enterprise of “Burning Silence”, it reflects a real sense of adventure, which bodes well for those songs still floating around the band’s synaptic clefts.
That something, by the way, that I heard in that initial listen, turned out to be genuine vitality. Indeed, more than anything, what Absolution of Humanity has going for it is Balls. I love the raw energy that courses throughout the songs here. Even where they take an ill-advised turn toward the way-too-predictable, this record is clearly driven hard by the members’ collective spirit. And, considering Sight of Emptiness trudge away in the heavy metal hinterlands of Costa Rica, that’s just the sort of extra something they’ll need to launch their way out of the jungle.