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Night In Gales: Five Scars

Five Scars is the first album from German melodic death metal act Night In Gales in roughly ten years, so I have no doubt that this one is being highly anticipated by fans worldwide. The melodic riffs that made Night In Gales well-known are all here in full-form, a few modern sensibilities keep things fresh, and the sleek production from Dan Swanö is every bit as excellent as you could've expected. Factor in the top-notch musicianship and you should have one of the year's best melodic death metal albums... which, at least in my mind, is only partially true. Unfortunately, Five Scars seems to be lacking any truly memorable compositions, and the whole album feels a bit "ho-hum" and generic to me. This is undoubtedly a professional and well-made album, but it lacks that extra notch of "bite" that really makes my blood boil. Even though fans of Night In Gales will definitely want to hear Five Scars, there are plenty of better melodeath albums out there this year to check out instead for more casual fans.

For a melodic death metal album especially, the compositions on Five Scars seem to really be lacking in terms of memorability, and I have a tough time picking out more than just a few riffs when the album ends. Even the portions that are memorable never really reach a level of excellence, and the album instead maintains a consistent level of "average" quality. I guess that's really the best way to describe Five Scars in a single word - average. The sonically superior production and terrific musicianship are both substantially above average, but the music itself (in terms of style and songwriting) isn't anything that is particularly noteworthy.

Even though it may sound like I'm coming down really hard on Five Scars, this is actually a pretty good album. It just isn't the triumphant return that I would've hoped for. Rather than returning with a fresh burst of inspiration and strong new tunes, this is the most "by-the-books" effort from Night In Gales as of yet. With that said, the quality of the musicianship, production, and overall product are exceptionally high, so it's hard to consider this one a failure. I'd say that a middle-of-the-road 3 star rating is pretty fair here. Night In Gales fans will want to check this one out, but most metal fans can probably pass.

Track Listing:
1. Epitaph
2. This Neon Grave 
3. Days Of the Mute
4. Five Scars
5. Void Venture
6. The Tides Of November
7. Life Denied
8. Endtrip
9. Whiteout
10. A Mouthful Of Death
11. Bloodsong
12. Blackmouth Blues
13. The Wake 

Added: October 8th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Night In Gales Myspace
Hits: 2467
Language: english

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