The Light in Which We All Burn

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When he's working with his primary band, Dark Tranquillity, guitarist Niklas Sundin usually treads the commercial (read: most melodic) cutting edge of the death metal genre, so when he's leading his side project, Laethora, he shifts focus to the style's more aggressive early-days approach, but to call these efforts simplistic or unsophisticated would be shortsighted. Rather, Laethora's goal is to revisit those harsher death metal templates from a thoroughly modern point of view, and the group's sophomore opus, The Light in Which We All Burn, peels back the years (and a few layers of skin) even more convincingly than the group's debut. Blistering speed bursts and deliberate grinds fight for supremacy within many of the same songs, whether they are quoting Immolation ("I as Infernal," "Humanae"), Napalm Death ("Uproar"), or comparative youngsters like Behemoth ("The Sightless") and Meshuggah ("World Deluge"). Meanwhile, Jonathan Nordenstam‘s vocals are set to "cavernous" at all times, but except for the typically invisible bass guitar, the impressive musicianship of all involved is a highlight in its own right -- from the chunky interlocking guitars to the intricate percussion (including cymbal splashes reminiscent of later-day Death). All in all, Laethora are clearly much more than a part-time hobby, and so fans of old-school death metal have every reason to hope that Sundin will keep exploring this creative outlet in the future.

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