Memorial - In The Absence Of All Things Sacred
Modern Thrash
9 songs (42:40)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Pete

Proving that persistence is key to the music industry, Denmark's Memorial formed in 1998 and finally, after eleven years, they've released their debut album through Casket Music. Was it worth the wait? Well, quite frankly, yes it was. In The Absence Of All Things Sacred is a raw slab of accomplished modern thrash metal.

The first thing that you notice when listening to this album is the barrel full of riffs the band has at their disposal. But they're not any old riffs, they're big chord driven riffs that when perfectly synced with the drums they take on that style of metal that almost 'punches' it way out of the speakers. In other words, BIG chord, BIG kick drum and BAM!…repeat. It's highly effective mixed in with the fast blast beats and smooth ride cymbal happy breakdowns. It almost borders on hardcore especially as vocalist Neil Poulsen shouts his way through the forty-two minute running time. But this would be doing Memorial an injustice because, although they use hardcore's simple but effective changes, they're heart is metal and it shows.

The band has a taste of Lamb Of God mixed with early Shadows Fall without falling too far into metal-core territory. Thankfully, In The Absence Of All Things Sacred is devoid of fluffy choruses and Poulsen's shouts have enough melody in them to make them metal…coarse metal, certainly, but metal nonetheless. But it's the music that's the winner here. The riffage is very impressive. The Last Curtain Call and No Joy Remains in particular would have fans of The Haunted and Unearth shitting their pants in excitement.

The production is very raw but it's also nice and heavy with every instrument given equal volume. This really helps the clever guitar work of Kurt Soerensen and Martin Cueto to cut through when required and adds that extra punch to those moments mentioned earlier. Walk With The Fallen benefits from some extra down tuned guitars with the bottom end almost pounding on your chest as if it was trying to revive you from a heart attack (I remember the days when debut albums sounded rubbish because they were recorded on a shoestring in about three days, oh how times have changed)

The usual problem, or not depending on where you sit on the metal fence, of this type of music is that it can get quite samey after a while. In The Absence Of All Things Sacred doesn't let up for acoustic moments or mellow breaks, it goes for the throat with a barrage of riffs and doesn't let up. This is its strength but it could also be its weakness, but then again why would you be listening to this type of thrash if you didn't want to be soncially pummelled? I believe that every album requires a little variation as long as it doesn't take away the credibility. For this reviewer a small break in the thrashing wouldn't have gone amiss, but the album closer My Creation could constitute a change in pace, albeit a slight one. But that's just me, I must be mellowing out in my old age. If you want some heads down modern thrash that's probably just as good as its contemporaries (better than the latest God Forbid effort at least) then give this a chance, or at least visit their myspace page. I just worry that after taking eleven years to write their first album the follow up in a year or so maybe quite difficult to put together. Fingers crossed though.

Killing Songs :
The Last Curtain Call, No Joy Remains, My Creation, Walk With The Fallen
Pete quoted 82 / 100
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