Light This City

Remains of the Gods

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San Francisco's Light This City arguably came into their own with this release, which, coincidentally, was also their first album for Prosthetic Records, by striking upon the two-pronged formula that would characterize their particular mix of melodic death metal henceforth: velocity and bombast. The first permeates every song so completely and compulsively (as indeed it would on every one of the band's albums) that their inexorable intensity would simply overpower the senses without the second's timely punctuations, which really help to give shape and temper emotions during standouts like the opening title cut, the excellent midsection riffs of "Obituary," and the brilliant Gothenburg-style staccato picking of "The Hunt." Kudos, too, to vocalist Laura Nichol, who compensates for her relatively indistinct (though always impassioned) death growl with thoughtful lyrics like those of "Letter to My Abuser" and "Your Devoted Victim," which address matters of mental and physical cruelty from a refreshingly female point of view -- at least in the macho world of heavy metal. But a distinctly weaker second half, marked by more of the same ├╝ber-thrashers and an unimpressive instrumental conclusion unwisely named "The Last Catastrophe," proves that Light This City still needed a little more experience and maturation to make their inspiration match the boundless energy and physical stamina displayed from start to finish on albums such as this.

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