Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Death, Decapitated, Ephel Duath, Septic Flesh, and Testament, as well as the superlative singer of Soilwork/The Night Flight Orchestra, I was eagerly awaiting this release to see what kind of punch it packed.
It turns out, it’s a knockout one.
This is a 46-minute melodic death metal album that focuses on traditional song structures and catchy choruses. The most obvious reference point, especially given the band’s singer, would be early Soilwork. Throw in a bit of Dark Tranquillity and The Haunted, and you’ll have a good idea of what Negative sounds like.
The band’s singer has a voice that I love, and on Negative he gets to show off his full range. From harshly barked verses to colossal huge clean choruses, the man’s performance really shows him at his best. Although an obvious focal point, the rest of the band are firing on all cylinders too.
All of the instruments are extremely well-played, as you would expect given the musicians involved. The drumming is impressive, providing a solid backbone to the songs and propelling them forward with energetic vigour. The guitars throw out riff after riff of melodic aggression, while the oft-neglected bass makes notable contributions. Keyboards add extra flavour, helping to tie everything together nice and tight.
The music frequently gives vent to the most aggressive side of the style, with blast beats and serrated riffs tearing out of the music like molten claws. This aggression is tempered by the more accessible side of the style, which provides for catchy music that’s easily memorable and very moreish. The immense choruses soar over the music’s characterful structures, and each song is a joy to listen to.
Negative makes me feel happy. It’s a collection of strong, catchy songs that’s simply very enjoyable to listen to. The band are professional and talented, and the result of their labours is a very accomplished platter of metallic fun. What’s not to like?
Very highly recommended.