The Swedish melodic death metal quartet ‘Eyes Wide Open’ have returned with their 5th studio album ‘Through Life and Death.’ It’s a record with a message; that message being that no matter your struggles, whether they be internal or external, you’re not alone and there is always hope. It explores every corner of the human psyche with a barrage of talent worthy of the Swedish melodic death metal scene.

The record opens with ‘World on Fire,’ an epically theatrical, almost cinematic instrumental depicting the post-apocalyptic feel to the record. This perfectly sets up the subsequent track ‘Devastation’ in all its dramatic glory. The vocals scream from the void “stand up, scream out” in an attempt to bring attention to the devastating impact silent mental illness can have on an individual. The operatic instrumentals accompanied by chugging riffs and exploding drums keep you captivated in what I believe is the strongest track of the album. ‘Fallout’ follows suit with a similar formula, mixing up clean and screaming vocals alongside simple yet effective riffs and keys.

‘Burn Em’ is the most uplifting track of the record. The message screams “I’ll face my demons with fire” highlighting the positive message of overcoming adversities when all seems lost. But what has been lost here is the catchy hooks and impact the band are trying to make. In fact, I would even go as far as to say the message falls short here. Much like ‘End of Days’ and ‘Through Life and Death,’ these tracks start to bleed into one another and fail to captivate the energy from the beginning of the record.

‘Eraser’ is a considerably darker and melancholy track. It’s haunting with fleeting moments of heaviness and reinforces this with its persistent use of synth throughout.

Next up we have ‘Brother’ and ‘Wildfire,’ both of which bring forth heavy melodic death metal elements with strong In Flames vibes, crushing drums and catchy hooks and solos. ‘Echoes’ introduces Richard Sjunnesson and Jonathan Thorpenberg of ‘The Unguided’ which proves to be the more metalcore influenced track of the record.

The penultimate track ‘Where Death Meets Paradise’ is a thought and emotion provoking track relying heavily on melancholy melodies and moody hooks coupled with both clean and metalcore vocals leading into the gloomy acoustic instrumental outro that is ‘Bridge to the Future.’

Overall, this isn’t a bad record. It starts out strong but slowly slides into the abyss that is mediocrity with flashes of greatness throughout but it’s not strong enough to carry itself. I don’t vibe with this record however I do appreciate its stronger points. I give it 6.5/10.

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