Album Review: When You Scream – The Alchemist
Origin: Osnabrück, Germany
Release year: 2012
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
When You Scream is a five-headed Melodeath outfit from Osnabrück, Germany. The band formed in 2010 and consists of Chris (guitar and backing vox), Daniel (guitar), Matwey (vox), Michael (drums) and Sven (bass). So much for the band facts we managed to collect.
WYS delivered an album called The Alchemist in June of this year. Though not 100% sure, it seems this is their debut. The game is Melodic Death Metal, that’s all it says. Anyway, we took it for a spin.
Expecting some more chewed up bombastic Melodeath, the sound of When You Screamed surprised. It’s rawer than expected and the vocals are often closer to Black Metal than to the typical Death Metal style. Well, there’s a bit of both, but the acidic screams definitely take more attention. There’s certainly a clear linkage to the early Gothenburg style, being a more melodic form of Metal springing from rough and dirty Death Metal. A starting point that’s definitely appreciated.
Unfortunately The Alchemist doesn’t really become more than that. Technically, the songs aren’t particularly challenging – though I’d sacrifice my left nut to be able to play the guitar adequately like this myself – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More importantly though, the songs aren’t very memorable or distinguishable, despite the fact that the band has applied certain elements that ought to give character to the songs. Think an odd chord here and there, a weird riff, atmospheric elements or sound effects.
Take the fifth song for example, titled Damnation (The Generation Of Broken Wings). Despite the application of those waving leads of the intro and the varied application of vocal styles later on, the majority of the song is just plain old boring.
The album’s title song is a better effort. It contains much more soul and the atmosphere aired by a bunch of stench-drenched forest goblins doing dark rituals in a shit cave. It tries to be evil and is a tiny tad mystical at the same time. The bass provides some nice fills and accents and the riffs feature a lot more variety and message. I’m even willing to forgive their occasional ‘core-ness’.
The band attempted to break the pattern of grinding Death Metal by applying a mostly acoustic ballad at position 8 of 9. It turns to an instrumental with electric guitars toward the end but features no vocals. This works as a way to break up the album, despite that the song itself isn’t too capable of carrying the listener away to a different place. It does however clear the sentiment for a refreshed assault by the album’s closing song, ominously titled Raped By a Mammoth Tree While Ash Was Kissing Lady G. I have no idea what that means, but it’s an enjoyable song nonetheless.
At the end, The Alchemist leaves me a bit clueless. It doesn’t get beyond mediocrity on average with a few peaks that are ‘alright’ and we fail to see the point it tries to make. It’s no more than a good first try by a beginning band. We’ve seen more of those though and truth be told they rarely rise above this level. When You Scream has its work cut out for it: take the solid basis of a raw Gothenburg sound to something their own and unique. No easy job with the host of Melodeath outfits alive today.
My Grade: 6/10
Buy this when:
- you don’t have to, download it for free at the band’s website