Neaera - _Omnicide_
(Metal Blade Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (7.5 out of 10)
By now, some of you may have noticed that over the course of the past few years I've taken so many swipes at melodic death metal that my knuckles are on the verge of turning into egg salad. I just don't get how so many record labels still deem it a worthy pursuit to pour what seems like the majority of their A&R resources into signing acts who, with choice few exceptions, are content to repackage a wholesale rip off of _Slaughter of the Soul_ and _The Jester Race_ as their own product. For that matter, I can't fathom why so many musicians are inspired to come up with this shite to begin with, or indeed why enough punters fall for it to justify it as a viable proposition on both sides.

So what makes Neaera's third full length different then? Honestly -- it's one of those instances where the x-factor is hard to verbalize properly. The smattering of black metal across opener "I Loathe" certainly helps, setting a darker tone than the band ever dared explore on 2006's _Let The Tempest Come_. But what really elevates _Omnicide_ above its predecessor as well as the majority of what the melodic death metal community will offer up this year, is that for better or worse, this German outfit sound like they give a damn. There's a palpable sincerity here -- whether it be in the convincing angst of Benny Hilleke's vocals or the deft manner in which Tobias Buck and Stefan Keller's duelling guitars tag team each other with enough efficiency to turn melodies that might otherwise have been crap, into something irresistibly catchy. The ride isn't without its flaws -- _Omnicide_ is far too derivative to be an outright masterpiece -- but were the rest of this sub-genre to follow Neaera's example, I'd undoubtedly have to spend far less of my time as a reviewer thinking up new and inventive ways to call a turd a turd.


(article published 15/6/2009)

5/9/2006 J Smit 6 Neaera - Let the Tempest Come
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