Thursday, March 2, 2023

Sins of Omission - The Creation (1999)

Sins of Omission was another Swedish band trailing in the footsteps of the formidable At the Gates, and I'd say that they probably had one of the closer sounds to the Slaughter of the Soul era, with a few pretty notable exceptions which push their 1999 debut over the top from just a trend hopper to something well worth having. From the stunning as usual Kristian Wåhlin artwork to the excellent punch of the production, this was one of the better efforts I heard from the tenure of Sweden's Black Sun Records, a label with some promise that unfortunately didn't survive very far into the new millennium. But that is clearly no fault of this quartet, who had much of the promise of their own influences but never quite broke to a broader audience, and I know I sound like a broken record but it was all due to the saturation of this sound.

But in the hands of Sins of Omission, this sound was still damn potent by the close of the 90s, and this is an album that not only gives some instant gratification but sticks around as a finer example of the style. For one, I think the lead guitars here, and a lot of the surgical, almost neo-classically defined melodies, are often SUPERIOR to that better known band, almost as if they were twisting in a little of another obvious influence, In Flames, over the more snarling and thrashing subtext of At the Gates, and it's really damn effective on numbers like the unforgettable opener "Eager for the Fray" or the title track. The riffs through the whole album are pretty much 75% hit, and 25% just okay, but everything seems pretty well plotted out, and while they aren't always as intense as their primary inspiration, they make up for that with those melodic adventures which are often more akin to an evil power/metal vibe of the era. The rhythm guitars have a punchy, razor-sharp slice to them which sounds timeless, the bass is good, the snarling of Toni Kocmut is a strong send-up to a Lindberg, the only thing I thing I would ask more from is the drums, which are more than passable but sometimes a little subdued in the more rock-oriented beats.

They occasionally get a little stranger, like in "The Experiment" where they try the harmonized, operatic mid-range vocals, or the mellow and emotional touches to "The Serpentine Route" with the proggy and eerie acoustic guitars; but it's pretty brief before they get back to the neck-jerking action. The Creation is with ease one of the better albums of this style which gets no love, and whether you're a huge whore for Slaughter of the Soul or you enjoy other bands in its wake like Darkane, Soilwork and Impious, this is totally an album worth snapping up if you find it in the used bins anywhere. Just as virile sounding today as it was then, and might have even gained a little value for me as I've gone back to it through time.

Verdict: Win [8.5/10]

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