Steorrah – II: Thin White Paint (2015) – The German progressive death metallers are back with a brand new, crowd funded release in II: Thin White Paint and I feel that fans of Opeth and Katatonia will rejoice at the mixture of death and jazz that fill the album’s heavier cuts, as well as the more sullen moments on the album like “I Saw The Black Dog 3:45.”
Now for the most part, these songs are all quite long, with many instances of texture as one might expect for progressive death metal. But the band is able to make it listenable and not entirely forgettable with a frontman Andreas Marz’s potent leads and his thick growls to boot. Yes, Andreas is one of those guitarist/vocalist combos and this record definitely displays his skills in a very positive light.
We also have pianos in usage along with some electronics, but none of these extra nodes seem to take away from the performance as a whole. As I said, fans of Opeth during their middle era will rejoice at this Blackwater Park-esque effort, with seven hard-hitting progressive death metal tracks that lie among the melancholy of the rest of the album and sound positively pristine thanks to Dan Swano’s mixing. But considering who we’re talking about here, it’s quite obvious that the legend would know how to properly mix progressive death metal.
The reason I would recommend this album is simply due to its sense of structure and amazing leads, which sometimes veer on the creepy. We could say that there are some rather hefty death metal sections here as well as some quiet moments of refection, but it soon become quite obvious that the fan of progressive death metal is definitely getting their money’s worth. Even a little bit of folk injection has been added, as was also clearly featured on Opeth albums; showing that these guys are following in the footsteps of one of the genre’s most influential bands.
I’ve been listening to this stuff for a very long time, so I know when it’s done right, and when it’s just kind of there. I know when it’s rough and I know when it’s clean. With II: Thin White Paint, you’re getting an extremely clean approach to the genre that clearly encapsulates it in its most classic form. Even though some people might look at Steorrah and think that they’re nothing more than an Opeth rip-off, it’s quite clear that Opeth is no longer playing this style now and I’m quite glad that a slew of talented musicians decided to take up the mantle and continue it for those who really fell in love with it.
Doubled with extravagantly deep lyrics that fill these melodic passages, I feel that fans of mid-era Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Katatonia, In Mourning, Ikuinen Kaamos and Witherscape will certainly enjoy this experience and will want to put it on their shelves immediately. If you’re looking for strong progressive death metal that takes a nod to the classics, then this record will definitely put an inky black smile on your face. We at The Grim Tower definitely recommend it!
(10 Tracks, 65:00)