Burden of Grief

Fields of Salvation

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Magick Records has described Burden of Grief as a German band with a Swedish-style approach to what has been termed "melodic death metal" -- in other words, bands like In Flames, At the Gates, Age of Ruin, the Haunted, and Opeth. Those Nordic outfits have combined death metal elements with a genuine sense of melody, harmony, and craftsmanship; unlike grindcore bands, they aren't strictly about bombast for the sake of bombast. Should Fields of Salvation be placed in that Nordic-style melodic death metal category? Not really. Death metal/black metal is an influence, but what transpires on this 2005 release can't really be lumped in with the melodic death metal and symphonic black metal releases coming out of Scandinavia. Instead of sounding like At the Gates or In Flames, Fields of Salvation gives the impression that Burden of Grief's main influences are American and British bands -- not Scandinavian bands. Instead of favoring a Swedish-type sound, Burden of Grief's material is really more of a blend of death metal and thrash with power metal references -- Slayer is a major influence, as is Iron Maiden (although Fields of Salvation is generally faster and much harsher than Maiden's albums). Mike Huhmann's lead vocals don't favor the deep, guttural, demonic-style growl that death metal is famous for; instead, his gruff vocal style sounds like Maiden's Bruce Dickinson by way of thrash and hardcore. Fields of Salvation (which was, in 2003, produced by Tommy Hansen of Helloween and Pretty Maids fame) won't win any awards for being innovative or pointing metal in new directions -- anyone who was listening to a lot of death metal and thrash in the late '80s and early '90s will hear Fields of Salvation and think, "Been there, done that." But if Fields of Salvation falls short of earth-shattering, it's still decent. The material can be exhilarating -- certainly if one has a taste for high-speed bombast -- and the performances are generally likable on this noteworthy, if derivative, release.

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