I quite liked The Resistance's debut album, 'Scars'. It had enough brutality and bite within the context of its classic Swedish death/hardcore sounds for me to proclaim it was "a solid start to this new venture." They've returned, 2 and a half years on, to present their sophomore full length offering to the world, 'Coup De Grace' and... well... it's just all very lacklustre on this second outing. Ex-In Flames axemen Jesper Strömblad and Glenn Ljungström remain in the fold, as does ex-Grave sticksman Chris Barkensjö and ex-Facedown and current The Haunted frontman Marco Aro, along with newcomer on bass, Rob Hakemo. So, personnel-wise, you'd expect more of the same... which actually transpires to be one of the album's problems. It's too samey.
The bass-biased production adds enough resonant weight to inject the music with some consistent (and, unfortunately, persistently unvaried) crushingly heavy tones, but this is in no small way backed up with enough variance in the riffs, melodies and pacing. It might sound crushingly heavy, but it's also crushingly dull. Songs become indistinguishable from each other and blend into one long, badly composed, piece of dire dirge.
I know The Resistance's modus operandi is all about pastiche, but 'Coup De Grace' is hideously clichéd to the point of being excruciatingly tiresome from, more or less, start to finish. They don't even maximise those clichés to any kind of engaging affect. Rather, this album even lacks imagination within the confines of its own, self-imposed genre parameters. It's a prime example of plodding tedium throughout.
And Aro's growl of "go" that materialises here and there is just cringe-inducing. Tomas Lindberg somehow made this sound über cool on At The Gates' seminal 'Slaughter of the Soul' album... but that was over 20 years ago now. And, in general, Aro's growled delivery, this time around is, well, just a bit naff. There's no guttural power behind his voice, and certainly no aggressive menace... just quasi-anger that sounds like a man pissed off with a heavy cold and a sore throat, yet still having to yell his arse off in this half-baked way.
Overall, this is an incredibly disappointing and poor effort. From a bunch of musicians who showed so much promise on their debut, it's kind of inexplicable just how much they've missed the mark with 'Coup De Grace'. There's minimal entertainment value here, so be warned. It won't be hard to resist The Resistance this time around. Believe me.
COUP DE GRACE
Review by Mark Holmes
22nd January 2016
1) Death March; 2) I Wecome Death
3) Smallest Creep; 4) Violator
5) Felony; 6) Deathblow
7) Resolution; 8) World Order
10) The Art of Murder
11) For the Venom
12) The Drowning
13) As It Al Came Down
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"It might sound crushingly heavy, but it's also crushingly dull. Songs become indistinguishable from each other and blend into one long, badly composed, piece of dire dirge."