Taste of "Real" Melodic Death
The debut demo from Italian melodic death metal act Sheol is certainly a promising start for these young musicians. As the melodic death metal scene becomes more and more saturated with bands looking to make a few easy bucks through commercial, almost radio-friendly, sounding melodeath, Sheol is one of the few new bands in the genre that stays true to the "non-commercial metal attitude". Clearly taking influences from Swedish bands like Opeth, Edge of Sanity, and early In Flames, Painting Black on the Sun provides an excellent melodic/progressive death metal experience that stays true to the genre and sounds unique at the same time. Of course, as any debut demo, there's work to be done, but Sheol has started out on the right foot with Painting Black on the Sun.
The music here is clearly influenced by the early Swedish melodeath scene, which of course means nods towards In Flames, Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Arch Enemy, and the likes. The album opens up with the melodic instrumental, "Dreams Away, Pt. 1", and from there it turns into pure death metal madness. There are plenty of melodic sections, and this 17:51 demo never gets extremely fast and heavy, but Painting Black on the Sun is still a perfect example of "melodic death metal with some balls". From a compositional standpoint, the songs can feel a bit underdeveloped at times, but there are enough great ideas to make all of the songs enjoyable in the end. The only real issue is related to the slightly-under-par production, which is still better than most demos anyway. The musicianship falls into the "average" category, but I have a feeling that better and more unique playing styles will only develop with time.
Although Painting Black on the Sun isn't an outstanding release, it's a promising start for Sheol. It's great to hear a new young band who's dedicated to playing "true" melodeath, and that's precisely what Sheol has done hear. Considering the quality of this demo and the fact that it's available for free download from the band's ReverbNation page, I strongly encourage all melodeath fans to head in that direction and give this one a spin. 3 stars are well-deserved in this case. Let's hope Sheol can improve upon a few things and create a completely killer second release!
1. Dreams Away Pt.1
2. Taste of Death
3. Painting Black on the Sun
4. In Love with a Knife