Behind the Shadows Lie Madness
Candlelight Records 2007
Candlelight once again brings us a new face on their insanely increasing roster with the third album from the UK’s Mithras. Mithras touts themselves as a “pushing Barriers.” I can kind of agree with that to a degree. What we basically have here is a death metal band that takes a massive foundation of modern Morbid Angel and then branches out in different directions from that reference point. Most of their side journeys and experimentation come in the form of spacey and melodic guitar passages that swirl and soar over blasting drums. This has some killer potential and often Mithras delivers on that promise. Many of their riffs are deadly as they slice through my eardrums with surgical precision. But there are sections that can be “boring” too like the Into Black Holes of Oblivion and Awaken Man and Stone which I have heard Morbid Angel do better years ago. Though the guitar solos have a completely different style and feel to them than Trey’s. And that’s one of the main hold-ups I have with this album. The main thing that separates the two bands is the style and tone of the leads though that sort of sells short some of the other techniques Mithras employ. One such trick is the dual clean and deathly vocal attack on To Fall From the Heavens. And of course these Brits save the best track for last with the tremendous Thrown Upon the Waves. The main riff churns like the unsteady sea and then breaks upon shores of steadily calm melodic leads only to surge once again with crashing and pummeling chaos. The four instrumentals on the album are quite interesting too as they have a sort of epic and cosmic sort of feel to them, especially The Beacon Beckons. Mithras certainly knows how to construct epic and individual sounding death metal melodic leads but their reliance on Morbid Angel-isms is a detriment to their overall skill and talent and does them a disservice I think. Hopefully they can stray further from those roots with future releases as they are a solid and potentially great death metal band. And the underground needs more of bands like Mithras.