Vera : During their ten years of existence, Rising has evolved from a marshy sludge/doom metal band to a melodic classic heavy metal band with any doom overtones and progressive tendencies in the longer songs. That was obviously illustrated on the predecessor ’Oceans Into The Graves’, where vocalist Morten Grønnegaard, guitarist Anders Bo Rasmussen and bassist Bjarke Lassen joined the band. The Danish five-piece is now ready with its fourth studio album ‘Sword And Scythe’ and continues these developments in a very agreeable manner.
‘Sword And Scythe’ happens to be a concept album about the history of mankind, seen from the point of view of cosmic circularity. The sword and the scythe can be used in positive as well as in negative sense. Will mankind learn from its mistakes or is every civilization doomed to collapse in the end, due to greed, wars and wickedness? The album gives no answers, only more questions such as: who are we, what are we and what will we become? This has been caught in nine captivating songs and two short instrumental intermezzos. The brief chaotic intro is followed by ‘Empirical’, up-tempo and catchy, with clean smooth vocals of Morten – he is also responsible for the artwork – fetching rhythms and fervent guitar solos. The super melodic twin guitars are even more virtuoso than earlier, that’s what we soon learn in the heavy rocking single ‘Hunger And Exile’, the stamping ‘Camp Century’ and the juicy ‘White Heat’. But the band has added a wide range of other elements and this is what makes it really interesting. ‘Ancestral Sun’ begins with piano and has a tight approach with fine chants, but also the addition of mellotron by guest musician Tim Christensen is a smart move. You can hear him in four songs and the soaring background really adds a surplus value to songs like the introvert ‘Civil Dawn’ and the very fetching single (and video clip) ‘Salted Earth’ (in which trombone can be heard too). The latter song is a bit doom laden and makes me think of While Heaven Wept. In ‘Kill Automation’ the intonation is a bit Dio alike, while the dark ‘Sea Of Irrelevance’ is sung with lower ranged voice. It is menacing and includes a sniff of harsher vocals. They round off with the lengthy, epic ‘Aeterna’ in which one can find any drama, while vocals are consciously drawling (a bit grunge-like). This album pleases me a lot more than the predecessor and thus I can highly recommend ‘Sword And Scythe’ to every fan of melodic, epic heavy metal!