Poisonblack, "Lust Stained Despair"
Not having heard the previous effort, I'm hard pressed to make comparisons between the two; but I do know that Ville Laihiala (ex-Sentenced vocalist and Poisonblack guitarist) took over the vocal duties for "Lust Stained Despair", which seems to have softened the gothic flair a bit.
Not that it's gone entirely, but the goth elements have been toned down in favor of more dark rock/dark metal. And that's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned, because it means it sounds a bit more like Sentenced. But this isn't Sentenced, who cashed in and while I might still be mourning the passing, it's over and done. There's plenty of good guitar playing to be had, melodic solos and slightly crunchy rhythm, drums and bass doing their bit to hold down the bottom end. The keyboard flourishes are more delicate than some of the other Finnish metallians, pushed back in the mix and letting Ville's vocals and the twin guitars share the main focus... unless of course the song calls for it (the piano in "Pain Becomes Me", any of the little solos he slips in) and then Marco gets to show off his chops.
Things start off with an up-tempo number called "Nothing Else Remains", a catchy tune with nice vocal melodies and guitars that weave through the pumping bass and drums. The solos are more feel than shred for the most part; otherwise this might have drifted into power metal territory. The usual complaint from me is that songs tend to sound a bit too similar, and that holds true here. There's the "Nothing Else Remains" type (catchy and up-tempo) and the "Pain Becomes Me" songs (darker, melancholic, and balladic). It does make getting through all eleven songs tedious, but either half of this album makes for some decent listening. I like "Soul in Flames" and "Never Enough" on the backside of the album, dark rock songs with plenty of energy and verve.
I'm not the biggest dark rock/goth fan, but some of the music on here is pretty decent. If you like Katatonia and the new Amorphis stuff, or even the last couple of Sentenced albums, you'll probably find something to chew on here.
Nothing Else Remains