||AMONG THE PREY
'Only For The Blinded Eyes'
Release Date: 19th February 2016
Roger Berzerk Fauske
Among The Prey are a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band formed in 2013. The band consists of musicians previously known from groups such as Thunderstone, Agonizer and Before The Dawn. As the band's founder and frontman Iiro Kuntsi says:
"The whole point of the album was to make music as it always should be done. If the artist has something to say, he puts himself truly in the line of fire and pours it all out. So that every played note and every vocal line would transfer those raw emotions to the listener. I hope we succeeded in that, so it can be heard why this album just had to be done."
So to the music. First up is 'Smile' and it does just that. First songs on albums can on occasion be littered with over indulgent intros and unnecessarily complex patterns just to prove that the band can, but with this lot it is straight to the point.
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Thundering rhythm, crunching riffs, powerful screaming and definitely no lack of melody going on behind it all. In fact there a few changes in the melodic content that breaks it up perfectly before its sudden ending. Definitely a good start and yes I am smiling.
'Beyond Repair' starts off with menace but again driven by the rhythm and guitars on top of that, it does a fairly good impression of a runaway train.
The guitar lines in this one grab the ears and give it impetus before the mid-section takes a more bludgeoning approach. Again the vocals screaming their message at you and whilst always a throaty growl, there is a lot of feeling in it.
The title track 'Only For the Blinded Eyes' kicks into life with more supersonic riffery from the twin guitars accompanied by some more hammer on the drums. There is an interesting rhythm to this one almost giving that feel of altering time signatures but to very good effect.
Screams fill the void on top of the musicians and the vocal breaks give the guitars especially the freedom to get their point across before being reined back. Another dynamite track.
'Burning Down in Hell' starts off with six-string work which strangely in a way echoes some of the more classic rock feel – the heaviness is still there, the growls ever present but the intricate layers come leaping out at you. This is probably the most melodic song of this genre I have heard, yes really, and the guitars are packed full of emotional content. In a word, brilliant.
'Pieces' starts off very differently, intro giving a sense of mystery, sweeping sounds giving rise to guitars before it is all in with the thunder and growling. The theme from the last one is continued, guitars dancing around and the fretwork round the bridge of the song is, in a word, delicious.
The soloing six strings perfectly accompanied by some more than efficient drums again bringing out all manner of sentiment and mood before it all piles in towards the end of the song. Another one that just grabs you by balls and refuses to let go.
'Wake Up' heavies things up a notch but still with melody galore coming from the 12 strings (that's 2x6 if you weren't good at maths at school). This one though is more at your throat, fast, menacing, and not a little moody. If you don't wake up during this then the only explanation would be a coma.
This may be brasher, but there are still a lot of levels to it, rhythm and tempo never standing still for too long. Definitely one to be driving round a racetrack to.
'In Your Face' starts off as the embodiment of the title and carries on with the same intrepid intentions. Fast, furious but not without another truck load of melodic injection, moving between the deliberate and forceful to the now familiar dancing fretboards and back.
The feel is almost as a song of two meanings, interwoven perfectly, going from one to the other without ever taking from the music.
'Two Worlds Colliding' is another thunderer with no frills although plenty of thrills. Powerful guitars, simple but effective riffs, and the belting drums accompany the growling perfectly, a real case of band in unison.
So to the closer 'Dancing On Our Graves' and a long thoughtful guitar intro, the twins working well on it especially, slow crunching rhythm overlaid with uplifting patterns.
As the vocals burst in, the song takes on a darker mood, chopping guitar particularly effective and descriptive, pulling the whole thing along and just when you thought you had the hang of this one it changes to a slower almost anthemic mood bringing the song and the album to its conclusion.
So that is that and as with so much of the music coming out of the Nordic climes it is very impressive stuff. The twin guitars especially stand out and the way they combine so well together is something you can't fail to notice and admire. The songwriting is up there as well and lets be honest – without that it doesn't matter how good you are it just won't work.
There are so many memorable licks and patterns with these guys but to me 'Burning Down In Hell' is the most impressive of the lot – it has everything and could probably be included in the manual of how to write a song in this genre.
Iiro Kuntsi - vocals and guitar
Atte Palokangas - drums
Joni Laine - guitar
Toni Keskinen - bass