Could it be that Germany is the new Sweden? It’s a strange question but, on the strength of this CD and several others released over the last couple of years, it’s nevertheless a valid one. On this occasion, we have Words Of Farewell, a sextet hailing from Münster that undoubtedly owes much to the likes of Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork et al. So much so in fact that the finished article, the German’s debut album “Immersion” flirts dangerously with the ‘clone’ tag.
However, plagiarism arguments aside for the time being, I must admit that I really rather like this record. As you might expect from the preceding paragraph, the heart of the music sits within the melodic death metal sphere but there’s also a nice splash of the progressive, as well as lush synths to underpin the overt brutality. The guitars bludgeon the listener with punishing regularity thanks to meaty riff after meaty riff but the keys which provide both background atmosphere and counterpoint the guitar leads provide a level of warmth and accessibility that raises the quality of the music significantly.
The opening track, “Project: Daybreak” sets the tone of the album beautifully and sets the bar pretty high in the process. The song is carried on a wonderfully catchy, yet strangely progressive guitar lick that’s pretty hard to shake from your head. Follow-up “Ever After” continues with the quality, and is extremely reminiscent of Dark Tranquillity at their recent best. The song is dominated by keys and guitar solos galore, all topped off with the ubiquitous melo-death growl of vocalist Alexander Otto. Elsewhere, “Sorae” introduces sampled synths to interesting effect whilst “On Second Thought” simply rocks hard.
To its credit, the aforementioned quality rarely lets up throughout the entire ten tracks, thereby highlighting a welcome level of consistency in the song writing department. Indeed, there is a lot to enjoy and admire about “Immersion” and the fact that this is a debut release, speaks volumes about the talent and desire of Words Of Farewell.
That said, whilst there is a definite and undeniable sheen of quality here, I have to return to the white elephant that’s looming large in the corner of the room. If Words Of Farewell are to genuinely succeed in an already over-populated market, they need to find their own clear identity and not borrow from others so readily. Be inspired and influenced by bands, yes, but don’t copy them. Aside from that, “Immersion” is a damn fine debut.