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   TORCHBEARER
Yersinia Pestis
2004
Metal Blade
http://www.metalblade.de/torchbearer.html

rating: 35/5

1. Assail The Creation
2. Sown Are The Seeds Of      Death
3. Dead Children, Black Rats
4. Faith Bled Dry
5. Bearer Of The Torch
6. Pest Cometh
7. Far Advanced Closure
8. Thus Came Dying Unto      Kaffa
9. Shorespread God
10. Failure's Dawn

Now, what do we have here. The Grave Digger memorial cover art (?) turned me off a little. Then the title "Yersinia Pestis". What the hell does it mean? A brief session of "googling" later I found out it's the bacterium that causes plague. Now the reaper on the cover makes sense at least. Then I had a closer look at the musicians involved. Torchbearer was formed by members of other bands: Christian Älvestam (Unmoored, Incapacity, Solar Dawn) and his bandmate Henrik Schönström, Göran Johansson (Setherial, Chaosdaemon), Pär Johansson and Mikael Degerman (both Satariel). So far, so good.

When I listened to the album for the first time, I had the impression that these guys don't really know what they want to play. Death metal? Thrash metal? Black metal? "Yersinia Pestis" contains a mixture of all these styles, be it vocal-, guitar- or drum-wise. But unfortunately the different styles don't always form a unit here and it took me a while to get used to the sound. What I find disturbing is that even after many spins few songs are really memorable. The ability to play certainly is there but I'd say Torchbearer simply have to improve their songwriting.
Most of the material on "Yersinia Pestis" is very aggressive and fast. Mid-paced or even slower moments are few (best or even only example for the slower category being "Bearer Of The Torch"). There's generally not much keyboard work on this album but on "Far Advanced Closure" they build a nice atmosphere and together with the swirling guitars this is one of the stand-out tracks for me. Other tracks worth your attention are "Pest Cometh" or "Thus Came Dying Unto Kaffa".

"Yersinia Pestis" is a solid release and an enjoyable listen for fans of the genre. But essential it is not.

submitted by Cora 20.03.2004

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