By the time 2004's "The Great Collapse" had been released, Germany's FEAR MY THOUGHTS had become a quality Swedish-style thrash act. The album is a fine mix of thrashing aggression and capable melodies, one that also succeeds because the songwriting isn't too one-dimensional. On "Hell Sweet Hell", FEAR MY THOUGHTS has taken a logical step forward that is similar in some respects to the evolutionary path taken by such stalwarts as SOILWORK and IN FLAMES. The melodic element has been emphasized and the instrumentation has become multicolored. For instance, you'll hear more in the way of light keyboard work. These are only examples though and are not intended to imply that the magnitude of the change is nearly as great as that heard on albums by either of the aforementioned bands.Fortunately, those who enjoyed "The Great Collapse" will not be run off by the band's sound expansion on "Hell Sweet Hell". Ripping and tearing continues to be the focus on many of these tunes and terms like "mellowing" do not fit. However, no one can accuse FEAR MY THOUGHTS of making "The Great Collapse" Part II. This more melodic brand of thrash/death is most noticeable on tracks such as the rather SOILWORK-like chorus of "The Masters Call" and the IN FLAMES vibe of "Ghosts of Time". That the clean singing and melodies on the choruses of songs like "Windows for the Dead" and "In the Hourglass" are more accessible than the material on "The Great Collapse" does not mean that the approach is any less savage. In fact, I can hear the old Sunlight Studios sound in the guitar tone and a distinct DISMEMBER attribute in the motoring delivery of the rhythm parts on many of these tracks. Coupling that kind of sound with a marked improvement in songwriting makes for an awfully lethal mix. Like labelmates CIPHER SYSTEM, the sound of FEAR MY THOUGHTS is not much of a departure from the style of some of Sweden's finest melodic thrashers. The good news is that while much heard here is imitation, it's a damn good imitation. The songwriting is of a high enough quality to make it memorable and the metallic attack is relentless. As such, "Hell Sweet Hell" is easily recommended for fans of the genre.
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