Enemy Unbound by The Absence
Release date : September 2010
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
The Absence is one of only a handful of heavy bands that have really captured my full attention over the last decade. This band is simply one of the best heavy bands to come along in years and why they haven’t gotten more attention is beyond me. If there is any justice the release of their third album Enemy Unbound will set that straight. Part Pro-Pain, part death metal, The Absence deliver in spades here.
The almost eighties hard rock vibe of the album’s opening track, “Vertigo,” is a little confusing at first. While I’m going to assume they were going for a dramatic opening ala Iron Maiden or Iced Earth, it kind of comes off more like a Badlands or Bang Tango instrumental. The confusion is immediately driven from your mind though with the appropriately titled “Erased.” The band rip through it with precision and ease while paying careful attention to deliver the band’s fist pumping anthemic elements at all the right moments. “The Bridge” and “Vengeance and Victory” are other fine examples of how this band can grind away without losing hardly any of its melody (which is mostly carried in the spectacular guitar work). “Hidden in White” is another noteworthy moment, as the band is at their most aggressive (at least on this album), leaving any naysayers in their wake.
The title track, “Triumph,” and “Deepest Wound” are easily my favourites here. Yes, they are a lot more melodic than the other tracks. Yes, they are full on war marches that would sound great with twenty thousand people singing along (well, not “Triumph” because there are no vocals, so imagine people humming along on that one). Despite all that, they bring a great depth to the album that helps it rise above a mere metal album and become a serious contender for one of the best overall albums of 2010.
I simply never get sick of this band. The Absence has delivered a trifecta of great albums. Each one is a little different and a little more dynamic than its predecessor, by default making each an improvement on the others. Enemy Unbound shows the band in a more musical light, challenging the perceptions of what this band is “allowed” to be and certainly exhibiting a much wider range of influences than we heard on their first two releases. Mark my words; The Absence is THE band to watch. Enemy Unbound is a great album, musically, lyrically, and from a production standpoint. Everything works in perfect unison.