The Absence - Riders Of The Plague (Metal Blade Records) - Back
When you think of the Tampa’s metal scene you think of many great death metal bands. If you haven’t heard The Absence yet then add another on to that roster. They started back in 2001 by vocalist Jamie Stewart and Guitarist Patrick Pintavalle. “Riders Of The Plague” is their sophomore album on Metal Blade Records and it screams of rage.

There is a combination of many extreme elements with a good share of melodious parts. Thrash, death, and Swedish death metal make up the majority of The Absence resonance, with a European approach.

Heavy and aggressive riffs are packed into this disc. Some of these riffs are melodic or rhythmic and are brought together well. Dueling harmonies are refined and satisfy the listener. There are some sweet solos too. The drumming is like a rhythmic machine anything from a straight to the point beat to a blazing blast beat. Death vocals are the choice vocal style varying from medium tone growl to something deeper and more guttural.

The few tracks stood above the rest for me include “Dead And Gone,” “The Murder,” and “World Divides” but just about everything is a good though. Another notable track is their cover of classic Testament tune “Into The Pit.” The Absence did a good job with this cover, but not to the point of surpassing the original.

A host of metal musicians help out on this disc doing various components. Guest performers on the album include Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Jonas Kjellgren (Carnal Forge, Centinex, Scar Symmetry), Santiago Dobles (Aghora), James Murphy (Cancer, Death, Disincarnate, Konkhra, Obituary, Testament), and Jonas Granvik (Without Grief, Edge Of Sanity). Jonas Kjellgren is also producer of “Riders of the Plague.”

The Absence finished up a tour with Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Red Chord, and Goatwhore in late 2007 on the Metal Blade 25th Anniversary Tour. I saw their performance in Rochester, NY and it was inspiring. They played a selection off of “Riders Of The Plague” and it seemed to satisfy the crowd. So not only is their album good but they put on a good show. Salute your horns!


Reviewed By: Jeffrey D. Adkins