Rifftera are billed as melodic death/thrash, but they have turned the genre on its head. Whereas most of the melodeath crowd focus on the brutality with some nice harmonic links, the cornerstone of Rifftera’s sound is huge, enrapturing melodic soundscapes intertwined with the heavier sections. That’s not to say they’re not metal – they’ve just burnished the edges to a soft, gentle shine.
While the record does include some nicely abrasive material, such as “Cry Wolf” which is all harsh vocals and chugging guitars with a hint of keyboards, it’s the gentler segments which really set Rifftera aside from their peers. “Two Sides of the Story” flips between the two styles, battering drums and harsh vocals giving way to airy keyboards and melodious singing. It’s like two characters in a musical having a back-and-forth.
“Cutthroat Game”, though… wow. The melodic sections in this absolutely blew my mind. Opening with a lightning fast drum beat, you’re all geared up for a thrashy number… but end up with a song which soars and swoops. The harsh sections are slow and heavy, the lighter ones absolutely lift this track to the heavens. But even this doesn’t prepare you for the epic scale of the 11-minute long title track. Holy crap.
I’d originally intended to pop this album into our catch-all thrash album compilation review published recently, but it stands out so much that I had to give it its own review.
Across the Acheron is out on January 18th