Susperia's sophomore effort, Vindication, which, perhaps following closely on the heels of the band's debut, Predominance, released only a year ago, shows this Norse goliath losing steam. Whereas their debut was a bountiful feast of seething, venomous black metal meets cyber-thrash, Vindication is, at least mildly, reminiscent of the table scraps. None of the tracks on this disc are as aggressive, as heavy, as dynamic as those on Predominance. Furthermore, Athera's charismatic vocal delivery is lacking the abrasive black metal dimension on Vindication, an element that would strengthen the band incredibly. The music, though truly quite decent, is neither as fast nor as imaginative as previously either. Tjodalv's drums are once again breath-taking and the trio of axemen manage their weapons notably, however the majority of the songs lack the muscle behind them to compete with songs like "Vainglory" or "I am Pain."
Furthermore, some of the new songs, including "Warmaster," have an all-too-familiar feel to them, sounding like something found on their debut. And while we're at it, lets add to this collection of gripes the terribly unsatisfactory lyrical content on the songs "The Bounty Hunter" and "Dead Man's World," two tracks whose lyrics should be completely reworked because they lack enormous amounts maturity and subtlety.
To the band's credit, some of the songs are quite captivating both lyrically and musically. The opener, "Cage of Remembrance," demonstrates how a slower tempo can be effective for Susperia, and "Anguished Scream [For Vengeance]" has the band travelling towards a more grooving incarnation of it's older self. These two, as well as a handful of other cuts are notable standouts on Vindication.
I've probably painted too negative a picture of this disc because it's not by any means the worst album out there, it's just that it doesn't twist my titties exactly the right way. If Susperia is your favorite band, you'll more than likely find it worth your hard-earned money, but I'm guessing you'll agree that Predominance runs circles around it.
Cage of Remembrance