In death metal/black metal, the brutality usually comes from the extremist vocals as well as the extremist musicianship. That's how it usually goes down, but in some cases, the brutality comes from the vocals more than the actual musicianship. That's exactly what happens on Evemaster's Wither, which is a perfect example of what is being called "melodic death metal." That term might sound like an oxymoron because in many cases, death metal is anything but melodic; on Wither, however, the Finnish band is genuinely melodic -- loud, aggressive, and forceful, certainly, but melodic nonetheless. The thing that makes this CD (which was recorded in 2001, 2002, and 2003) relevant to death metal/black metal is Jarno Taskula's over the top singing. Taskula doesn't go for a deep, guttural satanic-style growl (which is quite common in death metal), but he does scream like a witch who is being slowly tortured to death in unspeakable ways -- and his vocals make Wither much harsher than it would have been without him. Replace Taskula's screaming with a more conventional metal vocalist -- perhaps Ronnie James Dio or King Diamond, perhaps Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson -- and you would be left with an album that headbangers would tend to classify as power metal more than death metal. Vocally, Wither is death metal/black metal, but musically and melodically, it isn't radically different from the power metal of Maiden, Queensrÿche, Manowar, Helloween, or Savatage. Perhaps Wither would have been even stronger if Taskula's singing didn't make the lyrics hard to understand without a lyric sheet, but then, many death metal/black metal enthusiasts are more interested in ambience and mood than lyrics -- and for those who require nothing more than a tortured, darkly heavy ambience, Wither becomes an enjoyable, if imperfect, metal experience.
by Alex Henderson