Any melodic death metal band that’s worth its salt pushes a signature approach forward, and Sylvatica’s fuel is the essence of folk. The Danes’ first full-length, Evil Seeds, elevates vivid tunes. It also knows how to brush off the fluff and get to the core—the aggressively hefty passages.
The dreamy keyboard intro in “Lost” steers you toward the melodic pastures of the record. “Psychopatica” is the next stop, where Sylvatica unearths faint, folksy tonalities, blanketing over harsh vocals and unpredictable drumming. If you blink once, you’d miss the airy feel of “Winds of Decay,” but tight playing is also the driving force here. The ambiance is lowered on “The Ascension,” writhing in a foul feel; pelting blast beats appear, and the bass jumps out of the terror for a spell.
That brings you to the well-composed “Evil Seeds,” coupling bouncy percussion with rich melody. And sure enough, “Hate Quest” reflects its name by journeying through triplets, background chants and rough guitar passages.
Looking at “Lucifer,” the tasteful ode to one of metal’s dearest manifestations, Sylvatica’s creativity shines. But their interpretation on this song paints a more approachable picture of this feared figure, namely with the clever, acoustic section in there. This is where the epitome of the band’s folksy take dominates, but the waning tracks call it a night with other tricks.
Sylvatica work in their skill and songwriting abilities to forge a bright listening experience. The vocals are sturdy, and the chord progressions bring out the richness of age-old tones. Plus, the drumming taps into extremes. But one of the snags is that a few of the tracks go on too long and borderline repetition; another is that you’ll find most of the tracks following familiar blueprints. But these players have an eye for crafty compositions, as “Psychopatica” and “Hate Quest” aren’t fearful of different musical directions. And this album does seize some catchy numbers. Evil Seeds also achieves something great for a debut level: It holds the kind of melodeath that actually gives you plenty to enjoy.