qMeadows End - The Sufferwell - Metal Temple Magazine

The Sufferwell

Meadows End

When I first heard Sweden's MEADOWS END a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised […]
By Julius "Dreadheart" Mikkela
May 7, 2014
Meadows End - The Sufferwell album cover

When I first heard Sweden's MEADOWS END a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their music and the way they balanced their use of melodic and symphonic orchestrations in contrast to their solid Death Metal basis - especially so for a band I thought was new. Little did I know at the time that these guys had actually been around since 1993(as in the same 1993 that their countrymen IN FLAMES released their debut album, "Lunar Strain"), but didn't release (self-release, I might add) their full-length debut album until 2010 in the form of the excellent "Ode to Quietus". Now they're back for their second full-length album, entitled "The Sufferwell", and this should by every right be their rocket ride to fame and success.

Because one of the, arguably, hardest things for an Extreme Metal band right now is to stand out from the crowd and do something that actually draws attention, and MEADOWS END does just that. Theirs is a style, as previously hinted at; of a melodic form of Symphonic Death Metal (think a Symphonic version of DARK TRANQUILITY) that flawlessly fuses the strengths of the three worlds into a dark and almost gothic sound, and on "The Sufferwell" they've refined their sound into a head bang-inspiring journey of passion and melancholy that remains consistent yet intriguingly varied throughout the entire album. Each song feels unique, yet not disconnected from the rest of the album, which makes for an excellent full-length play-through while at the same time offering several songs that stand strong on their own.

Among all the great tracks, the 1st and 4th tracks "Kings of Greed" and "Devilspeed Loathekill" stand out as the most direct and relentless songs on the album and will probably cater the best to more traditional Extreme Metalists, and may also very well be the best tracks on the album. However they are also the most unsurprising, with the greatest surprise being the 6th track "Under a Canopy of Stars", which is a beautiful and haunting female-fronted acoustic track, the like of which I haven't heard in Extreme Metal a very long time. Other welcome surprises are the 3rd track "Ur Askan", a song sung in Swedish (it translates to "From the Ashes"), the curious 8th track "This Coming Nightfall" that for some reason reminded me of EDVARD GRIEG's classic "In the Hall of the Mountain King", and the organ-infused final track "Insurrection" which also feats clean male vocals to complement the splendid growls of vocalist Johan "The Brute" Brandberg.

The rest of the songs provide excellent mid-grounds in between these other songs, and be it individually or in unison there's simply not a bad song on the entire album. The truly only one thing that I found lacking was that there were no really faster and more aggressive song(s) to give more contrast to the slower-paced songs and give the overall album a slightly more well-rounded feel. But that's the only complaint I've got, and it's probably not even a proper complaint.

This is a work of passion by a bunch that knows what they want to do and are more than capable of doing it, and the fact that these guys are still not signed to a (major) record label is outrageous.

8 / 10


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"The Sufferwell" Track-listing:

1. Kings of Greed
2. Trench of Souls
3. Ur Askan
4. Devilspeed Loathekill
5. Reap
6. Under a Canopy of Stars
7. Hung in Gallows By Dawn
8. This Coming Nightfall
9. Funeral of a Porcelain Doll
10. Masses Flee
11. Insurrection

Meadows End Lineup:

Johan "The Brute" Brandberg - Vocals
Robin Mattsson - Keyboard
Jan Dahlberg - Guitar
Rikard Öqvist - Guitar
Mats Helli - Bass
Daniel Tiger - Drums

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