Alchera - Era

'Era' is Alchera's second album, though it might as well be their seventh. Despite releasing their debut back in 2003, Alchera has been around since the mid nineties, slowly cranking out promos and splits with different bands while establishing a reputation of death metal, but it is not just ordinary death metal. Listeners who spin this album will hear a mix of melodic death metal along with thrash, which will offer a catchy, diverse mix that strays away from the usual blastbeat and guttural vocal galore kind of death metal that usually is put out today. Tracks like "In Darkness" feature fast, pummeling rhythms that rise and fall but adhere to a pretty decent melodic death metal formula, even though there are no keyboards. Everything is done on guitar, bass, and drum, and if one were to take Children of Bodom riffs at times and remove the keyboards from that while mixing it with Metallica, one could very easily get the music from this track. The vocals switch between a mid paced snarl, like melodic black metal, and a deeper growl that is still understandable, thanks to the production. Other tracks like "Misanthropy" seem more along the lines of viking metal styled with the opening riffs and them opting for a faster, heavier chug that would lean towards a band like Amon Amarth, but one can still hear the hard rock/ heavy metal influences in the catchy repetitions every once in a while.

Alchera also throw in a few acoustic moments as well such as on "Ulfhednar." Here the bands show the most melodic bits of their work by letting the bass shine through the sole guitar riffs before the music picks up. Here the band seems to slow down a bit to a very easygoing pace that just crunches along in a vibrant nature while still retaining that enjoyable melodic death metal bits. As the album progresses on, tracks like "Guhl" and "Rune" lean more in to the heavy metal territory with going for just simple, but effective short riffings while backed by some more intricate guitar work that is more seamlessly stitched together. It's still melodic death metal, but the hints of thrash as the music aims more for catchy than complex or overly melodic by still featuring a lot of repetition add more than detract from the music. The last track, "Bauchfleisch," is perhaps a bit odd because it is also the most chaotic one. Only 30 seconds, the vocals do a layered assault that makes it feel like extreme deathcore or grindcore. It doesn't seem like Alchera at all, but makes a lasting impression for those who just like being blown away by an intensity of sound, even if it is only for a short while. Overall, despire being about a seven year wait, 'Era' should appease old time fans of the group while attracting some new fans with its more melodic side and semi-groove based riffs.

  1. Lokasenna
  2. In Darkness
  3. Beginning Of Days
  4. Misanthropy
  5. Dead End
  6. Elysiums Asche
  7. Vlokuslak
  8. Ghul
  9. Ulfhednar
  10. Melkor
  11. Rune
  12. Fraass
  13. Bauchfleisch

Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jun 11, 2011

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