Closer
"A Darker Kind of Salvation"

(Pulverised Records 2008)Closer - A Darker Kind of Salvation

If a band is going to rip off (or “borrow heavily from,” “pay homage to,” “worship at the altar of,” or whatever euphemism helps them sleep at night) one of their contemporaries, they better pick a damn good act to crib from. Let’s face it: nobody wants to hear original shitty guyliner-and-breakdown-ridden screamo bands, let alone all the shitty guyliner-and-breakdown-ridden screamo clones popping up these days. So when a band takes a page out of Meshuggah’s playbook, at least it guarantees they’ve got an awesome cup from which to drink.

In all fairness to Closer, they’re not a Meshuggah copycat, even if they do bring a distinct sonic similarity on debut album “A Darker Kind of Salvation.” Just listen to the mechanized riffage of album opener “Chaos Internal” and try not to picture the Swedish (not Norwegian, as Ozzy’s doughy son once famously proclaimed) juggernaut. Closer certainly has the robotic stutter-step down to a science, but they pick from other fields of study too. There’re the deep hooks championed by countless melodic death metal acts (no doubt a product of Closer’s Swedish nationality), thrashing gallop, a bit of death metal chunk, and even a little Lamb of God-style apocalyptic groove waiting to smash through on “Places of Pain.” What it boils into is a cool amalgamation with an impeccable, crystalline production. The confluence of styles get a bit muddy at times, but everything comes into sharp focus on the furious, ultra-tight closer “Shelter From It,” a perfect fusion of the disparate elements Closer are pulling together.

Of course, when there are so many styles banging together, some of them are bound to trip each other up. The cutesy picking in “Hell is Where the Heart Is” mars the song’s anthemic choruses and short but sweet solo, and “It Dwells in Darkness” features some frighteningly uncomfortable vocals that sound way too much like the screamy dude from Linkin Park. For its missteps, though, “A Darker Kind of Salvation” is an impressive debut; if Closer can narrow their vision, they might have something really special on their hands.

B+

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