As much of a metal fan as I am, Death Metal is one of the metal sub-genres that is very hit and miss for me. I’ve always leaned more to the melodic side of the death metal pendulum. When I first listened to The Absence (after stumbling across the Riders of the Plague cover artwork online) I was immediately hooked. After an 8 year album hiatus those melodic death metal-ers The Absence are finally back with A Gift for the Obsessed.

A Gift for the Obsessed is the fourth album for the band and it contains all the same elements that immediately hooked me on Riders of the Plague. In a loosely similar vein to Carcass, The Absence absolutely slay with killer hooks, pounding blast beats and frightening growl vocals. But as is their style, The Absence like to slow things down at times giving the music (and listener) some breathing space.

Here is where I usually try to call out tracks that I feel are the strongest on the album. With A Gift for the Obsessed I can not do that. In a rare occurrence for an album, ALL the tracks are strong. The individual tracks together as a whole work extremely well.

This time around with A Gift for the Obsessed the listener also gets a special treat with a cover song. The gang in The Absence perform a great cover of Suicidal Tendencies song “You Can’t Bring Me Down”. At first I was surprised by the track, but the band make the song their own while staying true to the feel of the original. While coming off a bit more as a Hardcore track than death metal, it still very much fits the band.

Overall I’m very glad The Absence is producing albums again. A Gift for the Obsessed is well worth a purchase. I just hope the band doesn’t take another eight years to record another one.


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