Summer Dying - Beyond the Darkness Within
Melodic death metal
7 songs (46'58")
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Rarely does it happen that I get introduced to the band live before hearing any of their studio work. Having heard Summer Dying in the recent concert I made an effort to track down their vocalist Kerry Cripe in the crowd in order to get their CD Beyond the Darkness Within. I am certainly glad that I did as the reward came in a way of the unexpected piece of the original metal music that I kept playing almost constantly over the last week.

Summer Dying hail from Lansing, MI, USA but you would think they were born and bred in Sweden. You would think they probably started their career somewhere around Gothenborg, and then got to travel some. As you can certainly hear the hints of the melodious Swedes in Summer Dying’s music, these young Americans did an excellent job of digesting their influences. Yeah, you could hear the influence of old, but not as complex, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth and occasional nods to At The Gates, especially in the opener Friend or Foe and Forever Lost. Still, Summer Dying is no rip-off of anybody in particular as they strive for their own sound. Highly unusual in these days of copycats in the melodic death metal (Japanese band Shadow, please, stand up).

On just about every track on Beyond the Darkness Within bare bones heavy death metal parts are combined with the somber melodic, sometimes almost acoustic passages. Things at times are attached loosely, but the interest never wanes. Such song structure is probably the most evident on Tears of the Fallen. I bet whoever composed it listened to the song or two of Opeth to get inspired. Such introspective moments allow the band not to slip into mindless brutality of the pummeling rhythms. Yet, at the same time, no happy-peppy melodies are to be found on this album. The word Darkness from the title describes the mood perfectly. Vocalist Kerry Cripe attempts to capitalize on this combining his guttural chants with heart searing screams and some clean crooning. OK, I’ll be honest with you – the latter needs work, but those screams are well placed and add intensity to the music. Special mention needs to be given to bass player Bobby Bryant. His guitar playing is nimble and provides solid rhythmic foundation, while soloing is a bit generic and reminded me of Iron Maiden in spots (hey, I understand, we all grew up listening to those guys).

In the end I want to say this – I would love for these guys to get a deal. Somebody, please, sign them, and give them the budget to improve the production. It isn’t bad for the self-produced CD, but could be a lot cleaner. I am sure with some backing Summer Dying will additionally refine their songwriting and present us with the total package in the future.

Killing Songs :
Friend or Foe, Final Day, Forever Lost, Tears of the Fallen
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Summer Dying that we have reviewed:
Summer Dying - One Last Taste of Temptation reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
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