The Angry Scotsman
One of the pillars of melodic death metal, this album is more intense then In Flames' "The Jester Race" or Dark Tranquility's "The Gallery". I suppose depending on how much "melodic" or "death metal" you like will determine which of the 3 is your favorite. This album is the most intense of the 3 by far, while TJR is the lightest, and "The Gallery" is a good middle ground, maybe with the best songwriting.
I personally like this one the best. It is a good blend of the two, but still maintains outright death metal intensity. Intense is what this album is. There are two completely melodic songs, and the rest are quite fast...maintained by lots of blast beats. The slower parts are often backed by double bass drumming even. The riffing is fast and frantic, though simple. This is what does make it more melodic then normal death metal.
The solos are also very melodic, opposed to shred, there are slower melodic sections, and even some non metal sections. Also, there is no growling on this album but instead a more high pitched, (kind of raspy) screaming. There is real emotion behind them. OK, a lot of metal heads cringe at the thought of emotional lyrics...but really a real power and intensity is conveyed behind them. At the end of "Cold" when he yells "I FEEL MY SOUL GO COLD!" try not to get shivers.
Call it death metal lite if you want. Fast paced, simple riffing pushed by straightforward and intense drumming and topped off with soul wrenching yelling. This album may sacrifice the complexity and technicality, (and maybe some brutality) of regular death metal...but it does not sacrifice intensity and has some great twin guitar work. Only real downside is there is not really a standout song, and at times it can be a bit uninspired sounding.
Overall, great album. My favorite of the 3 classic melodeath albums, and probably the best of the entire sub genre. Four and a Half Stars