Indiana band by way of Helsinki, Renascent, return after a lengthy hiatus to unleash another collection of melodic death metal
Just looking at the band member names, one can quickly tell that Renascent are not a native Bloomington, Indiana band even if they are based there now. The band itself finds its origins in Helsinki, Finland, dating back to 2003 with the Demon’s Quest ep coming out in 2004 and a full length Through Darkness in 2005. Interestingly, the band started with Jani Stefanovic on drums, the same Jani Stefanovic now playing guitar for bands like Miseration and Solution .45 among others. Following release of Through Darkness in 2005, the band essentially went on hiatus with Stefanovic and vocalist Barry Hilliden both leaving. The band reformed in 2014 and began work on Praise to the Lord God Almighty with guitarist Eero Tertsunen adding vocal duties and drummer Rolf Pilve covering most of the tracks on this album with Joonas Heikkinen taking over for the last track. The album was produced by Eero Tertsunen and Mikaela Akrenius and mixed and mastered by Eero Tertsunen
Howling winds and a mournful, solemn piano open up the album in the instrumental “Cry for the Sins of Mankind”. Given the album cover, I was waiting for the onslaught of guitars and blast beats that was sure to come as the track was building but that didn’t arrive until the start of “Saboath Arise”. By now, it was clear this was going to be a symphonic melodic death metal album. The other piece that became clear early into listening to the album was that the keyboards completely dominate the overall sound, which is a disappointing at least to me as I would prefer them to be an accent to the sound. I was hoping this was just an anomaly in the first track but even though “Apocalyptic Terror” opens ,with a guitar riff, as soon as the keyboards come in, they again dominate, especially considering there are some good guitar riffs and solos and some great drum work.
Production and mixing aside, Renascent has crafted some catchy songs, some of which, like “God Our Fortress” and “End of the Journey” and “In the Shadow of the Almighty” have a certain underlying groove that hooks the listener and reminds me of Immortal Souls Wintereich album, which may not be too surprising given their Northern Scandinavian origins.
Throughout the songs, the Scandinavian metal influence is clear but again and again, the keyboards end up distracting the listener from the underlying work of the guitars and drums. “The Reign of the Ancient of Days” is both a great and frustrating song to listen to in this regard. A lone piano opens up the track, to be quickly joined by the guitars in a rather frenetic, intricate riff but the louder keyboard fills detract from the overall power of the song. Combine this with the general loudness of the keyboards affecting even the clarity of the vocals and what would be a great album suddenly becomes a bit less interesting. Unfortunately, I have the same criticism of every song on the album, which makes it tough as a reviewer but keep in mind, that is the only criticism. If you are looking for melodic death metal with a Northern European flair, you owe it to yourself to check out Renascent’s Praise of the Lord God Almighty as you will be hard-pressed to find a collection of better crafted songs and performances.
Written by John Jackson
01. Cry for the Sins of Mankind 02:18
02. Sabaoth Arise 05:51
03. Apocalyptic Terror (Dies Irae) 03:55
04. God Our Fortress and Refuge 06:12
05. The Reign of the Ancient of Days 05:36
06. The End of the Journey 05:24
07. Call to Redemption 05:14
08. Diabolical Conquest 04:40
09. In the Shadow of the Almighty 04:48
10. The Sovereign One 04:21
11. Praise of the Lord God Almighty 06:03
12. Circus of Flesh 02:52
Eero Tertsunen – Vocals and guitars
Mikaela Akrenius – Keyboards
Voitto Rintala – Bass
Joonas Heikkinen – Drums
Record Label: Independent, Nov. 2016
Video below: ‘Praise of the Lord God Almighty’