Building on their potent and promise fuelled debut album, Swedish melodic metallers A Silent Escape return with its successor Black Heart to make another pleasing punch on the senses. Merging magnetically persuasive metal with hardcore abrasiveness, the Falkenberg quintet continue to be a band seemingly destined to close and eager attention whilst still on the road to finding their fullest potential. On the surface the new album does not seem a massive leap on from its strong predecessor but time and patience allows the songs making up the emerging impressive release to unveil a much maturer and poised invention alongside a greater hunger to the songwriting and its expressive realisation.
Formed in 2010 out of the demise of Union Square, which featured three fifths of A Silent Escape in its ranks, the band was soon grabbing attention with their live performances and subsequently first album. Receiving good acclaim and response from the critical media the five-piece of vocalist Patrick Stenborg, vocalist/guitarist Joel Nilsson, guitarist Eddie Hanlsa, bassist Martin Karlsson, and drummer Per Qvarnström are primed to exceed its success with the self-released Black Heart, nine tracks of still not fully distinctive antagonism but certainly an accomplished and dynamic A Silent Escape provocation.
The album opens with a bang through opener Gone. From its first breath rhythms are jabbing a hole in the senses whilst guitar flames singe and light the imagination with enthralling craft and magnetism. The intensive squalling vocal attack of Stenborg brings a caustic rabidity to the protest before making a strong union with the clean voice of guitarist Nilsson, their occasional combination across song and album a continually impressive suasion. There is an unmissable In Flames assault to the song and admittedly the whole of Black Heart which prevents the release from standing fully alone amongst similarly sculpted bands or reaching its fullest promise. It also in some ways undermines the deeper qualities of the songs with the ultimately familiar surface, but still the first thrilling track makes a powerful invitation into the album which cannot be dismissed.
Both Frozen Blood and the following title track reinforce and continue the strong entrance of the album, even if failing to create the same spark in the passions as their predecessor. The first of the pair builds a melodic web of temptation and emotive intensity to its reserved yet inciting tempestuous sonic heat whilst the second prowls the senses with a challenging and intimidating air through its predacious intent. It tempers this with a seductive melodic coaxing, a singular strand of seduction which has any fault is too far back in the bulging maelstrom of energy and rhythmic probing to realise its full potency. Nevertheless it again shows a pleasing imagination and adventure to the songwriting which arguably was missing in the band’s earlier release.
When The Last Song canters in with a melodic wind to its initial vivacious sails to make an engaging coaxing, but it is when a tightly acidic groove offers a contagious lure matched by the again thrilling union of clean and grazing vocals that the song ignites into one of the real pinnacles of the release. Aggressive bordering carnivorous and seductive leading into melodic elegance, the song is an ingenious brew of enterprise and rapacious enmity fused into a fiery and enthralling triumph. Without doubt the lead song on the album the band back it up with the verging on vicious storm of The Light, a song where the great rhythms of Qvarnström bruise and make intensive demands on the senses alongside the ferocious hardcore bred punk vocals, alongside the ravenous, emotionally and physically, Gagball. Once more finding a riveting mix of clean and demanding vocals across a melodically infused and threateningly aggressive sound the song, without quite matching the previous peak of the album, boldly twists and turns back on itself with invention and bold explorations.
The following Speed Of Light and also Seeker bring two more enjoyable if underwhelming encounters, both undeniably skilfully crafted but without the spark of individuality to set them aside from assuming expectations, whilst the closing Still Commanding unleashes a final summit to the album with a mouthwatering play of emotive melodics and angst clad aggression steered into the passions by the excellence mix of vocals. It absorbingly completes a fine album from a band still proving strong evidence that they are a force in the making. Possibly Black Heart disappoints in the fact it is not as big an evolution from A Silent Escape’s debut as hopes and assumptions imagined but it pleases and satisfies from start to finish and that is the first requirement of any strong release.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from