Summer Dying - One Last Taste of Temptation
Self released
Melodic Aggressive Death Metal
11 songs (55'14")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex

I promised myself to try and be very impartial when writing this review. Alas, I can’t. I just like Summer Dying too damn much. So, I hope I wouldn’t oversell this band’s qualities, as well as I wouldn’t be overly critical of their drawbacks (after all, you want something you like to be perfect).

These death metal sons of Lansing, Michigan have delivered a second self-produced full-length titled One Last Taste of Temptation. Whether you read or not my review of their debut Beyond the Darkness Within (the link below), you need to hear this band. They are good!

On their promo sheet sent along with the CD the band mentions As We Rust, My Last Goodbye, title track and Trials of Life as recommended songs. Hmm, I’d say these are the most aggressive raging pieces on the album. I think I get it now. The band is trying to up the meanness of their delivery without sacrificing the melodicism they planted on their debut.

Just like on their debut, the band will blow you away with their riffs. Intro riff on the title track, In Flames Jotun like riff on Holding On are just a few examples. Just like on their debut, the melodies and emotions just rip through the flesh (Like Icarus, Story for Eternity). Just like on their debut, the quiet moments (piano on Holding On, keyboards and guitar harmony on Eternal Sleep) are ethereal. Just like on their debut, there is a variety of vocals and tempos in every song. Yet, somehow you feel that the band is not satisfied, and tries to up the ante.

Vocalist Kerry Cripe uses three delivery styles: brutal death growling, anguished black metal screams and clean crooning. As the one who had seen Summer Dying live I don’t know whether they used multiple vocal tracks or (like in the live show) there are some backing vocals. Whatever the case, both deathly growls and raspy screams are powerful and convincing. When such aggressive singing goes over the top of dual guitar harmonies (Holding On), I simply get goosebumps. Clean vocals, however, still need work. Kerry once told me that he takes vocal lessons. Well, more are needed as he is long ways away from Speed Strid or Stanne. Whatever is not provided with technique, though, is made up for with emotion.

I have always like Ben Harris’ drumming as he can go proggy beat, double bass and climb the snare all in one song (Like Icarus). He is not as fast as Ranta or Jivarp, but his wall of sound is powerful nonetheless. Bass player Bobby Bryant is heard less (Eternal Sleep) and, as I have learned recently, left the band. Both guitars go from killer riffing to soloing effortlessly, but this is where I have the biggest bone to pick with Summer Dying. Whether intentionally or not, but some solos sound as if the lead guitar has been tuned to an entirely different key than the rest of the band. Title track, Holding On and As We Rust are primary examples.

All of these criticisms aside, Summer Dying delivers something that I call melodic old school Gothenborg styled death metal. They are much closer to old Dark Tranquillity, Sacrilege and At The Gates than to modern day Soilwork and In Flames. Nowhere is it more evident as on the three-song block Story for Eternity, Cold Hands Shattered Dreams, Eternal Sleep. Summer Dying killer trademark beat that they have introduced on Friend or Foe, good clean singing and killer melodies of Story for Eternity alternate with thunderous drums and hammer-to-the anvil booming riffs. Frenetic all over the fret solo (tuned right) is the cherry on top of this to-be-a-killer-live sundae. A quiet, “rainy day”, instrumental middle transitions into the emotional balladesque (in tempo anyway) Eternal Sleep. Anguished screams, an awesome combination of piano and guitars just floors me on that song.

To the labels: Why are you scouring the shores of the far away lands to find something better that what is homegrown? Last week I had a review of another Children of Bodom clone. I’d feel much better if that spot went to a SIGNED Summer Dying. This band, in a way, is an answer to what is wrong/right in the American metal scene, the subject of our editorial a few weeks ago.

To the band: With all due respect, the guys need a producer like Fredrik Nordstrom or Tommy Tagtgren. Somebody has to polish the sound without removing its raw nature and aggressiveness. A Mexican band Buried Dreams went to Fredman a few years ago to record a sophomore album, and the progression from the first album to the next was impressive. I understand it might be a pipedream to go to Sweden (budget and all), but I am entitled to a wishful thinking, right?

I encourage those of you who like At The Gates, Callenish Circle, Dark Tranquillity, old In Flames, Enter My Silence, Insomnium, etc. to check Summer Dying out ( You will not regret it, and, in fact, I am already hearing your wows.

Killing Songs :
Like Icarus, Holding On, Story for Eternity, Cold Hands Shattered Dreams, Eternal Sleep
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Summer Dying that we have reviewed:
Summer Dying - Beyond the Darkness Within reviewed by Alex and quoted 76 / 100
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