Sjak : Meadow’s End is a Swedish symphonic death metal band, who have already released two full-length albums in the shape of ‘Ode To Quietus’ (from 2010) and ‘The Sufferwell’ (from 2014). Their third piece of work, being this ‘Sojourn’, was originally already brought to market in 2016 and is now re-released by the Black Lion label. The record consists of a dozen newly recorded versions of tunes that the band has written in the period between 1999 and 2006, supplemented with an extra bonus track called ‘Everlasting’.
If you listen to the album, it pretty quickly becomes apparent that the band knows how to write a good song and also the performance of the material is just fine. They know to create a great balance between the beautiful, at times subdued piano and keyboard parts at one hand and the heavy riffs on the other hand and that account for the fact that the thirteen songs of offer are very enjoyable to listen to. Also the vocal delivery of singer Johan Brandberg can’t be criticized and as a result of that all necessary ingredients are present for a good symphonic death metal album. There are however very many bands nowadays that are playing this style of music which will make it kind of hard for Meadow’s End to really stand out from the crowd, but despite of that after just a few listens it becomes pretty obvious that they’ve been able to create a very solid album.
For me especially ‘Heathen’s Embrace’ (with violin solo), ‘Amidst The Villains’, ‘All Of Them’ and ‘Forever Haven’ are the positive outliers of this record, but it has to be said that the quality level is fairly consistent. The epic bonus track ‘Everlasting’ is also very worthwhile listening to and certainly adds value to the already pretty strong album. Therefore ‘Sojourn’ can be recommended to everybody that digs death metal with quite some symphonic elements.