Release: 20 October 2023
Label: Mighty Music
Sylvatica is a four-member Danish melodic death metal band, and Cadaver Synod is their third full-length album. They’re a band I’ve heard of but never found time to sit down and give them a listen, and that was a huge mistake. Melo-death can go one of two ways: mellow and atmospheric, or hard, and Sylvatica definitely chose the latter.
I’m a newcomer to the band, so I had some catching up to do, but I can safely say this is their strongest album to date. There’s enough musical variation between all the songs that they’re fresh and different, but they’re performed and edited tightly and cohesively. There’s a lot of magic here.
In terms of instrumentation, this is a standard metal line-up, but they bring some halloween sound effects into the recording booth (or perhaps it’s a VST, or a theremin with a devious amount of pitch LFO). It’s reminiscent of that spooky skull decoration that was ubiquitous in the late 1990s. Anyway, one would expect sonic cheese, but they put it to great effect. It brings tracks like “Papa Poltergeist”, “Titivillus”, and “Scapegoat” together. There are other virtual instruments tastefully dropped in other tracks, and I won’t catalog them here, but each track is a well-polished masterpiece.
The tracks, as I mentioned, are nicely varied. They’re all great to listen to in their own way. “Strife” starts off waltzy and serves as a great intro to the album. “Pope Innocent VIII” is a weirdly nonfiction song that ended up teaching me things. “Titivillus” sounds to be in common meter; it’s very singsongy. It probably slays if heard live. My favorite track, though, is “Scapegoat.” It starts off with the screamy-skull theremin, carries on with a 70s-style rock organ, a kickass melody, and the refrain has a shouted “scape! goat!”, and some choral “ahs” for good measure. It’s all well-mixed and powerful sounding.
The album closes with an acoustic version of “Song of the Leper”. It’s a minor critique, but “In the Eyes of God” was a stronger track to leave the album. If you’re like me and were Sylvatica-hesitant, this is a great diving-in point. Turn it up and rock on!
- Papa Poltergeist
- Pope Innocent VIII
- Song Of The Leper
- In The Eyes Of God
- Song Of The Leper (acoustic)