Cemetary

Sundown

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Perhaps more than any other release, Sundown suffers from Cemetary's radical genre shifts. Throughout the '90s, guitarist/vocalist Mathias Lodmalm led the Swedish band through many twists on Scandinavian metal's subgenres, with predictably mixed results. Although Lodmalm quickly branched out from his perfunctory death metal beginnings, his band managed to reference its aggressive roots throughout Cemetary's career, with the possible exception of this 1996 release. Recorded between the doom-inflected Black Vanity and the more accomplished Last Confessions,Sundown shares the goth metal design of the latter but lacks the intensity of both. As the melodic death movement began to grow, the excessive guitar and drum approach of Viking metal did take on a softer shade. But Cemetary strangled its sound with this trend on Sundown's opener, "Elysia," a track that (without Lodmalm's dour lyrical free association) could almost be described as upbeat. Boring keyboard parts cripple a few songs, but the experiment works on occasion, most notably during "Last Transmission"'s fine choruses. So while Sundown is a little uncomfortable in its goth dressing, there are enough good moments to declare the record something more than a failed experiment. It's something much less, however, than the band's muscular follow-up, the swan song Last Confessions.

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