Sarea – “This is Not Goodbye”


Sarea_coverMany know Sweden for producing bands with incredibly heavy music from bands like Meshuggah, At the Gates, and Entombed among others, but Sweden has also produced some bands like Blindside with a hard but very melodic and more radio-friendly sound.  In that vein is Sarea with their second album, This is Not Goodbye.

Sarea formed in 2008 and released their first album, Alive, in 2010 with the goal of creating a debut with “major hit potential”.  The songs on Alive were stripped down and straightforward, no-filler with the longest song clocking in around four minutes.  As a testament to the popularity of the album, the single “Another Me” currently has over 1.5 million views on YouTube.  The band followed up the release of the album with touring during 2011 and returned to the studio in 2012 to begin recording This is Not Goodbye. 

On the plus side, Sarea open up This is Not Goodbye without an intro track, choosing to buck the current trend and just build an intro piece into their first song.  I thank them for that.  “Conform with Me” is that first track and opens up with a bit of intro music and then a keyboard heavy start to the song and format that instantly brings to mind bands like Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch.  Heavy undertones but very radio-friendly and melodic.  The song does pick up the pace a bit, double bass drums come in and some of the vocals shift toward that of Corey Taylor (Slipknot) which was a bit of shock at first.  My biggest surprise was the very prominent keyboards throughout the song and the soaring clean chorus sections as I was expecting something a bit heavier and more guitar oriented.

The keyboard dominated sound continues in “This Void” and actually recurs throughout much of the album.  In this void, though the overall sound and tone of the song gets somewhat heavier and closer now to bands like Killswitch Engage at times.  The screaming vocals now approach more standard metalcore in overall tone and sound.  “Downfall” is the obvious choice for a single as it contains more of the heavy sound as well as strong clean chorus and quiet sections.

“The Catch 22” shifts pretty far away from the keyboard dominated songs before it as this song is driven by guitars and rapid-fire drumming, even incorporating a guitar solo.  Vocals are nearly exclusive of the screaming type in this song which really is a pretty radical departure from the first songs on the album and actually from most of the songs on the album.  “Hope” is the other song on the album that incorporates the screaming vocals throughout along with fast riffing and drums.  These two songs are definitely the two strongest ones on the album from my viewpoint as they differentiate Sarea from so many other bands that have that somewhat generic, radio-friendly almost formulaic approach of using heavy sections and soaring clean choruses.  In the big picture, there’s nothing wrong with that style but unfortunately, so many of the bands sound so similar that it is difficult to tell one from another.

Much of This is Not Goodbye could be from one of many other bands, such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, Volbeat and really any other band that has popularized the style that incorporates heavy guitar and vocal sections with clean choruses with soaring vocals and keyboards.  The performances are very good, the production, likewise, is also very good, so if this genre and style is what you favor, there is a lot to like here.  With the exception of “The Catch 22” and “Hope”, I would say this is a “safe” album that didn’t take many chances.  Don’t get me wrong, the songs are very solid, but there the distinct impression that you have heard this before.

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

1    Conform with me     04:00
2    This Void     03:07
3    Downfall     03:52
4    The Catch 22     02:03
5    Shattered     03:08
6    The Chase     04:14
7    Home     04:23
8    Into the flood     03:59
9    Hope     03:02
10    Burn     03:11
11    21     04:31
12    Egoblivion

Band Members:
Chris Forsberg – Vocals
Calle Larsson – Drums
Johan Axelsson – Guitar
Alex Dzaic – Guitar
Johan Larsson – Bass
Martin Persson – Keyboard

Record Label: Doolittle Group, 2014

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video below ‘Downfall’

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