The Absence are the greatest Swedish melodic death metal band ever to emerge from Florida. Their emulation of the Gothenburg sound, as exemplified by At the Gates and dozens of other acts, is note-perfect. The riffs are catchy; the songs have choruses one can pump one's fist and shout along to; vocalist Jamie Stewart has a hoarse, gravelly bark; the guitar solos are tasteful yet still shred-happy, and the drummer keeps things moving at a steady clip. On this album, the band was still slightly influenced by American metalcore, so fans of bands like As I Lay Dying will hear some of that here, too. But the dominant sound is definitely the melodic Swedish death metal style, so metalheads who enjoy acts like Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, At the Gates, and Arch Enemy will absolutely be pleased by this American equivalent.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman