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Sounding like nothing coming out of Scandinavia in the early 2000s, Swedish quintet Seethings produces emotionally charged alternative metal on their Scarlet Records debut Parallels. Drawn from a number of contemporary sources for inspiration, theirs is a brooding blend of monster grooves, hammering guitars, mid-paced rhythms, and (some might say forced) impassioned vocals -- all of them contributing to the hard/soft dynamics typical of this hard-to-define style. Taking these descriptions a step further, songs like "Slow Healer," "Isotone," and "Illuminate Me" fuse the harmonic complexity of Finger Eleven with the layered guitar thunder of Pist-On, and, at their most commercially appealing, additional standouts "Good for Nothing" and "Falling" approach the economic thrust of, say, Incubus or Chevelle. Told you it was a lot to take in. Yet, for all these obvious sonic references, Seethings still manage to impart most of the album with a convincingly deft songwriting touch, and it's only when they recklessly borrow from the inimitable Tool (witness the Maynard James Keenan karaoke on "Navian" and "This Hole," as well as the title track's opening riff) that their hard-won identity begins to crumble. Likewise, the brief, Deftones-like interlude "Elevate," with its mechanical percussion and molten distortion, feels both out of place and unnecessary, and, at a hefty 13 tracks, one can't help but feel that Parallels could have benefited from a little bit of editing. Still, the positives far outweigh the negatives throughout this promising effort.

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