NEAERA
"The Rising Tide of Oblivion"

(Metal Blade)

01. The World Devourers
02. Borken Spine
03. Anthem of Despair
04. Walls instead of Bridges
05. Where Submission Reigns
06. From Grief...
07. ...To Oblivion
08. Hibernating Reason
09. Definition of Love
10. Save the Drowning Child
11. Beyond the Gates
12. No Coming Home
13. The Last Silence

RATING: 5.5/10

A couple of years ago, "The Rising Tide of Oblivion" would have sounded a lot better to me. The metalcore competition was less intense back then. Germany's NEAERA are in many ways the quintessential metalcore band, in this case a thrashy up-tempo album with sporadic breakdowns, screechy lead vocals that are switched up with the occasional death growl, and the melodic Swedish-influenced guitar harmonies of Tobias Buck and Stefan Keller. Drummer Sebastian Heldt has got quick feet and a knack for well-timed fills too. Hey, there's nothing lowly about any of it, there just isn't anything here to grab my attention or make me remember this album a month from now.

That I couldn't point to a standout track doesn't mean that any of the songs are sub-par, only that none of them are especially noteworthy. Except for the odd pace change in mid-song, pinches of compositional spice thrown about, and a mellow album-closing instrumental ("The Last Silence"), several tracks into it and you've basically heard the entire album. Kudos to Andy Classen for a production that gives everything a razor sharp feel and accentuates the strong playing of Buck and Keller.

I'm not looking for NEAERA to reinvent the wheel or dazzle me with cutting-edge song craft, and it's not as though I'd turn my nose up if someone tossed this one into the CD player at a friendly gathering. The rip-and-pummel factor is adequate, the boys hit hard and fast, and I'd guess the live performance is pit-worthy. I just need a reason to choose "The Rising Tide of Oblivion" over the hundreds of similar albums out there when I'm in the mood for lacerating metalcore. NEAERA hasn't given me one.

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