Stortregn – Emptiness Fills the Void (2018) REVIEW

The earliest works from Geneva, Switzerland melodic black/death metal band Stortregn might have been hyper focused on concentrating the most resonant ideas from Swedish melodic black and death metal groups like Sacramentum and Sacrilege. Yet their own modern version of this classic sound has molded itself closer to the early 2000’s second generation Swedish melodeath a la Sins of Omission and In Thy Dreams where most bands dropped off the face of the Earth because they were so bored with the style of music they were playing. This was largely due to an overpopulated scene of followers with few ideas of their own. If you ask me a lot of the -right- musicians fell off of melodeath after the millennium mark. In the decades since, melodic death metal groups embraced technical death metal, djent, and symphonic metal for truly horrendous results. My interest in melodic death metal sticks with what increasingly becomes ‘old school melodeath’. Stortregn‘s discography, including this latest full-length, offers a pleasant bridge between the old ways and the new sounds.

Though they have always been very capable musicians the slightly raw edge of Stortregn‘s debut EP ‘Devoured by Oblivion’ (2008) was satisfying enough for nostalgia’s sake. The follow up full-lengths ‘Uncreation’ (2011) and ‘Evocation of Light’ (2013) offered sharper performances that reminded me of one of my favorite groups Dawn on occasion and their style began to very closely resemble the similar goals of country-mates Thulcandra. At no point does Stortregn’s come closer to the works of bands like The Moaning and Unanimated than on ‘Singularity’ (2016) yet their sound was quickly moving towards the more disparate, progressive metal style of Insomnium in terms of lead guitars. ‘Emptiness Fills the Void’ finds the band taking an additional step into modern progressive techniques.

With both feet firmly planted in modern melodic death metal the black metal elements are by and large limited to vocalist/guitarist Romain Negro‘s rasp. Don’t get too worried though, this isn’t necessarily a Bloodshot Dawn style record but strays away from the beauty of their previous work and instead goes in for the attack with guitarist Johan Smith stepping up his lead contributions with reasonable consistency. Songs like “Nonexistance” and “Lawless” feel more like Cor Scorpii than Stortregn as a result of a moderately neoclassical approach to leads. This polished and modern sound is almost too cleanly presented with production once again from Vladimir Cochet (Mirrorthrone) who opts to give the drums a flat, ‘tech-death’ sound that is less than heavy.

I admire this great leap in fidelity and general upping of technical mastery; It isn’t at all the record I was expecting from a band that had consistently delivered average melodic black/death metal. Where I feel torn in terms of this record is that  I don’t necessarily like those ‘new’ elements of production and style for the ‘plastic’ and futuristic feeling they bring to an organic form of melodic metal. Nevertheless this is a good direction for Stortregn‘s sound. A reiteration of ‘Singularity’ would have been less notable in the grand scheme of things.

There is great potential for nostalgia for folks indoctrinated with melodeath a young age here, especially if you’re a fan of modern forms of it that don’t entirely abandon the aesthetics and semblance of Dissection. Likewise if bands like Revocation, Skeletonwitch and The Black Dahlia Murder are keystones for your enjoyment of extreme metal I think Stortregn couldn’t be a more perfect segue towards something darker. For my own taste ‘Emptiness Fills the Void’ refines the ‘feeling’ out of the band’s previous output, leaving me without anything remarkable to cling onto.

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Artist Stortregn
Type Album
Released May 25, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Non Serviam Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Stortregn on Facebook
Genres
Melodic Death Metal,
Melodic Black Metal

Reveal the anti-cosmic path. 3.0/5.0

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