REVIEW: STEORRAH – “II: Thin White Paint”
German metal band Steorrah released their crowd-funded and second full-length album ‘II: Thin White Paint’ earlier this year. This album bears a brilliant approach to the style they play, evident in the excellent mix of fine aspects like the aggression of death metal (despite being quite sullen and doom-ish) and a significant dash of progressive parts, making it one of the best new albums in 2015. ‘II: Thin White Paint’speaks of the rich and diverse influences they draw into their music, from the likes of Opeth, Katatonia and November’s Doom.
Mixed and mastered by renowned Swedish audio engineer Dan Swanö, the album is a beautiful musical journey with a slew of well-thought out textures, wonderful leads and remarkable growls. It speaks of the wide individual musical experiences each member brings into the band in the memorable aspects bearing the glory of diverse styles ranging from death metal and progressive rock to jazz.
Songs like “I Think I Saw the Black Dog” speak of the band’s ability to explore new dimensions in both of its versions – the first being melancholic and acoustic, and the second being a rather catchy rendition which brings a perfect finish to the album. It discharges creativity through and through in aspects like unique chord progressions, jazzy elements and passages being independent of each other, yet constituting a nice overall blend. All seven tracks distinctly showcase multiple memorable elements and details like pianos and well-placed electronics embellishing the fierce progressive death metal essence, all owing to the top-notch production.
What also render the album a wonderful listen are the exceptionally well-produced drums in songs like “The Milk of Human Kindness”, also featuring distinct bass guitar and an excellent guitar solo. The rhythm section stands out in “Tea Leaves for Eosphoros” which features beautiful grooves, jazz-like interludes and ferocious growls. Andreas Maerz asserts himself as an exceptionally skilled vocalist in his perfect delivery of diverse and opposite styles like low falsettos and soaring growls, backed by fine contrasting instrumentation of acoustic melancholy as well as prog-death assault. “Misericordia – The Great Gig in Disguise” is an absolute delight which features the perfect embellishments around a very simple crux.
‘II: Thin White Paint’ is a must-have for fans of early Opeth who love a style upholding the brutality of death metal while also exploring a variety of possibilities through its progressive or even experimental approach. The album is compositional brilliance with a remarkable sense of structure, a plethora of awe-inspiring surprise elements and catchy choruses. Despite being progressive, it has got just the right amount of monotony and repetition to induce a consistent thought process in the listener. It’s is a bold work with long songs showcasing many styles and contrasting aspects like death growls and cleans, brutality and melancholy, etc; all of it in vivid clarity. While many might consider Steorrah as an Opeth wannabe band, the refreshing delivery of the style they play is undeniable, especially since the most influential bands who play this genre do not really play this style any more. Looks like Steorrah has chosen to keep this superlative musical style alive!