Canopy – ‘Menhir’, Dissension Records; 2010

From track one onwards it seems that ‘Menhir‘, the second full-length release from Swedish melodic death metallers Canopy; is just full of interesting yet seemingly well-balanced musical surprises.

One fitting example which higlights this best comes from the body of the opening title track itself: as it begins, one is hardly able to tell what genre the band actually plays; for they have decided to opt for a rather unique formula. Referring to this song alone, that is to start with an ambient, acoustic introduction before moving on to post-rock… and then a brief pause before launching right into groovy, hard-edged death metal complete with frontman Fredrick Huldtgren’s gravelly, raw vocals. The result seems as astonishing to hear as it is to read in this description, mainly because of an overall balance which exists throughout the album. To their own credit, Canopy have created a sound that succeeds in drawing upon other genres outside of extreme metal which combines together and doesn’t feel disjointed. Perhaps this could be due to the relative level of focus given in the music scene towards post-rock fare like Alcest or Long Distance Calling; as much as it could be to the group’s apparent influences from Opeth or modern Katatonia.

Yet although the more experimental, thoughtful assets of the music are indeed well-played out and incorporated into their sound; it’s when it gets heavy and angry that the band seem to be at their best. ‘A Storm Within A Storm‘, ‘New Construct‘ and ‘Inward Burst‘ showcase this the most; since their use of drilling guitars and fast d-beats help maintain an aggressively energetic atmosphere. It goes without saying that aggression is a key aspect to death metal, even of the melodic variety; and to have more of it here would likely have bumped ‘Menhir‘ up much higher than it already appears to be on the ratings scale.

6.5/10

[This review was of an album which is currently available for full-stream.

To stream the album and listen to it for yourselves (and to see if you agree at all), please go to http://menhir.bandcamp.com/]

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