Since releasing a demo tape in 2007, Gothenburg quartet Miasmal have been a hotly touted cult name amid devotees of the new wave of old-school Swedish death metal.
Eschewing the gnarled and dank atmospheres of that scene, this, the band’s second full-length, has a crisp and slick crystal-clear production courtesy of Studio Fredman, where the likes of Arch Enemy, In Flames and Soilwork got their ear-candy polish. Miasmal contend that the bright sonic punch suits their more ‘rocking’ brand of DM, and it does, but often the limits of the band’s uncomplicated directness are evident in remedially simplistic and forgettable meathead riffs and structures that seem arbitrarily lashed together.
‘Play first, think later’ is the band’s self-proclaimed maxim, so it would be churlish to criticise Miasmal for their unashamedly derivative, meat’n’potatoes approach, and there is joy to be found, especially in the surprisingly elegant leads. But where bands like Death Breath or Morbus Chron revitalise the hackneyed memes of the genre with flair, personality and atmosphere, Miasmal are largely content to maraud around in well-worn circles.