In 2015, the Gothenberg sound is completely entrenched in Metal culture. Having far surpassed its sonic domicile in Melodic Death Metal, the twin guitar harmony of Maidesn-esque riffs went on to infiltrate Metalcore – and its copious sub-genres – making it all a tad more palpable and palatable. Yet, tangible growth seemingly eludes it. Gothenberg’s own Archaea, however, seek to put an end to this stagnation with their newest release, Catalyst.
Archaea play a classic strain of Melodic Death Metal and it would be exceedingly prudent not to lump this group in with the other Melodeath bands that possess the typical traits of the genre; twin guitars cut through the mix, solid bass underpins the groove and keyboards add melodic lines and ambiance to the production. So far, so relatively familiar.
Comparisons to scene legends Soilwork are appropriate, especially on the mid paced “Helios Ascend”. Replete with floating synths and syncopated guitar riffs, this song recalls the days when Melodeath was in its infancy and also of the thrashy, symphonic sounds found on Children Of Bodom’s seminal Follow The Reaper. “Omnicide” and “Silhouette” reveal a prominent – and unsurprising – In Flames influence while “Vacuum” proves to be Catalyst‘s standout track. Hinging on baroque keyboards, not too far removed from the aforementioned Children Of Bodom, this dark, crushing and strangely theatrical track expertly balances thrashy riffs with swirls of expertly played synths.
Although the production of Catalyst offers the listener the full range of the sonic pallette, there’s precious little ground broken here. That said, Archaea do have their own identity and offer Melodeath fans a convincingly tried, tested and true formula of solid and satisfying Melodic Death Metal. 7/10