Metal Judgement

Grade: 4/5

The full length debut of Danish band Compos Mentis is all the average melodic death fan needs to whip his or her energy up and show that there's still lifeblood in the genre. Sure, people who are spent on the style will detract it and say that they've heard it before, but Compos Mentis keep the scene alive by incorporating a style of their own. There is no doubt that these guys have listened to a good deal of Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity in their lifetimes, but that by no means shackles their creative vision. Perhaps it's because they're from Denmark, but they have a quirkiness to their sound that keeps them from sounding redundant. They also have a general knack for songwriting and a good command of their instruments. Fans of both new Amon Amarth and new Soilwork might be able to find some common ground with a release like this one. It's catchy in its own right, but it stays away from the more saccharine stuff that turns some metalheads off. It also isn't afraid to use a cacophony of sounds to add not only melody and atmosphere, but bleakness and despair as well.

The vocals mix growling with a desperate shriek and are done with a cadence that is hard to resist. The band's biggest flaw, besides the fact that they're in a genre that is just about passť, is that most songs come up at least somewhat formulaic. It's a good formula, but a formula nevertheless. But let's not be too harsh on these young'uns, this is their debut,for crying out loud.

Bottom line is that this disc is more than worth your while, and it could be the first glimpse we get of the new wave of melodic death, only time will tell. One thing is certain, however, for a debut this is one hell of a way to kick things off. One word review: Impressive.