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Album Reviews : The Absence – Enemy Unbound

By on September 14, 2010

Hailing from Tampa Florida, The Absence are a pretty over looked metal commodity. With a sound that takes the best elements of the melodic death metal scene and the classic sounds of thrash, the five -piece should probably be a hell of lot bigger than they are, especially after releasing their frankly stunning sophomore album Riders of the Plague back in ’08. With the release of Enemy Unbound, The Absence have once again laid down another record full of tremendous guitar work and highly addictive songs.

Opening instrumental piece “Vertigo” features some very classy lead guitar sections, with smooth legato runs backed by a relatively tasteful rhythm and slow drums and it’s almost a shame that it ends so prematurely. The pace then dramatically picks up for follow up track “Erased”, with Jamie Stewart’s gravely vocals easily stay fierce yet catchy at the same time, while the title track highlights the band’s ability to pen a strong chorus without sacrificing any of their heaviness or harsh vocals. “Maelstrom” throws some heavy nods towards Sweden’s Arch Enemy, with tasteful melodic guitar lines carrying the song along, before another instantly memorable vocal refrain rears it’s head.

One thing about The Absence is that they love guitar solos. A LOT. Every track on “Enemy Unbound” features at least one moment of shredding lead guitar, but don’t go thinking that it’s some tasteless Dragonforce style wankery, as guitarists Peter Joseph and Patrick Pintavalle infuse every lead break with melody and exotic styling’s; sort of like ex-Megadeth shred hero Marty Friedman crossed with Arch Enemy’s Mike & Chris Amott.

“Wartorn’s” mid-tempo stomp serves up some more Dimebag-esque style whammy bar abuse and slight Eastern undertones, meanwhile the destructively slow driving pace of “Vengeance and Victory” is a sure fire live hit with Stewarts’ somewhat simple, yet effective, lyrics and vocal attack absolutely made for chanting along to.

While not as brilliant as Riders of the Storm, Enemy Unbound is without a doubt a great record boasting a number of fantastic songs, and while definitely not an album to listen to if you want any huge diversity between songs, The Absence know what they write best. If melodeath is your thing, you’d be a fool not to check out this band and Enemy Unbound8.5/10

Band: The Absence
Album: Enemy Unbound
Year: 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Origin: Florida, USA
Label: Metal Blade/Riot

Track listing:

1. Vertigo <- Reviewers Choice
2. Erased
3. Deepest Wound
4. Maelstrom <- Reviewers Choice
5. Enemy Unbound <- Reviewers Choice
6. Solace
7. The Bridge
8. Wartorn <- Reviewers Choice
9. Hidden in White
10. Vengeance and Victory
11. Triumph


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.