This year it’s 10 years since the debut album Divanity by Swedish rockers The Murder Of My Sweet popped up. Time flies, huh? I instantly took a liking to the band’s cinematic, theatrical and symphonic mixture of AOR, Goth, Metal, Hard Rock and Melodic Rock and singer Angelica Rylin’s gorgeous voice seduced me right off the bat as it held a broad range and was both technical, emotional, smooth and raw at the same time. My relationship with the band has been mostly a good one. The follow-up Bye Bye Lullabye (2012) was an even better effort and Beth Out Of Hell (2015) almost got the full monty for me – a brilliant piece of work. So my expectations were set high for 2017’s Echoes Of The Aftermath but the album wasn’t even close to live up to those expectations. It was an uneven album where the best song couldn’t hold a candle to the ones on the predecessor. Now TMOMS are back with a new effort and this time I’m not sure how high my expectations should be.
The album’s leading single “Tin Soldier” opens the album and it sounds exactly how this band should sound – cinematic, symphonic in a straight-forward pace on a stompy rhythm and big AOR melodies. A more quiet and laid-back break, and a slightly jazzy keyboard solo paves way for a crunchy, Hard Rock laden guitar solo that comes along on top of a ground of fat guitar-riffs. It’s a really good track but it’s a bit baffling that this six-minute piece was chosen as the first single as it doesn’t hold that radio-friendly catchiness. “My Religion” is a pounding, slightly progressive rocker that brings on some chunky riffage and a solid, meaty groove. Most of the prog of the song comes from Daniel Flores’ odd keyboard sounds which makes the tune even more interesting, something that contrasts with the mighty AOR melodies that lies over a symphonic Hard Rock base. As the icing on the cake we get a big, catchy refrain that sticks right away. Very good.
“Head Of The Snake” brings on some beefy and heavy verses, Hard Rock with a rough and stompy groove. Some big and somewhat proggy keyboards that sends a nod towards Jordan Rudess playing in Dream Theater while the chorus comes on strong and catchy in an AOR meets Melodic Rock way that sticks directly after one listen. Awesome. “Reason To Live” holds heavier and darker verses, striking and quite in-your-face. Symphonic undertones, some staccato prog-metal rhythms takes us away to a more upbeat chorus that is catchy yet not in a hit kind of way. Very good. The ballad “Safe In The Shadows” starts out soft and taciturn but soon turn grandiose and bombastic in a huge sound-scape. The actual refrain is very theatrical and cinematic and reminds me of a James Bond movie-score or something in that vein. The word power ballad gets a whole new meaning here and I really dig this one.
“Hit The Ground” breaks loose with a staccato rhythm and chunky AOR-ish guitar riffing on the prog-side of Hard Rock and the beat is punchy. The prog-metal vibes continues in the straight-forward catchiness of the chorus but with melodies that is pure AOR. While the contrasts works and feels natural here, the song kind of passes by unnoticed. Not bad but somewhat forgettable. On a big, groovy rhythm – with tribal drumming and all – and huge melodies all over, “Everybody Wins” follows with a cinematic vibe and the whole arrangement brings musical theatre to mind, “The Greatest Showman”-type – especially the massive hook-laden refrain, a refrain that totally screams hit. This is awesome! TMOMS enters ballad mode with “Memento”. It’s slow and dark with a slight groove and a symphonic twist with a slice of power-balladry for good measure. It’s quite soft yet not mawkish and brings a big soundscape to the table – and it sounds like a movie score. Very good.
“Keeper Of The Flame” takes yet another turn with its disco/funk groove and some Latin music swings below an AOR-rock structure that brings old 80’s action-comedy movie-scores to mind and it also gives us some metal-riffing to further the contrasts. On an upbeat tempo with old-school keyboard riffs, the song moves towards a chorus that sounds like more contemporary Melodic Rock with an instant catchiness. Great stuff. “Worth Fighting For” is more in the vein of old 80’s pop-rock on a groove-laden foundation and a symphonic outlook. A Softer, laid-back bridge paves way for yet another upbeat and catchy AOR-refrain – good one. Closing track “Alchemy Of Sins” is a soft and mellow ballad that holds a levitating soundscape that makes the track calming – even tranquil. The chorus brings on a soothing, gorgeous melody and even though it’s not actually catchy – the melody is spot-on and grabs a hold immediately.
Given the fact that drummer/keyboardist Daniel Flores is mostly known for his treks as in AOR – he’s hired by Frontiers as a song writer and is behind many of the songs by acts such as Find Me and First Signal – and the same could be said of his wife Angelica Rylin whose solo album Thrive (2013) is pure AOR, The Murder Of My Sweet are interesting as it covers a lot of other genres in Rock. Quality wise, this album is a huge step up from the disappointing Echoes Of The Aftermath and is almost as strong as their masterpiece Beth Out Of Hell. Performances by the band are absolutely faultless but Rylin do take over this project with her broad range that blends an amazing technique with lots of passion and emotion. On the production side, the album might come across as too clean at times but it’s also heavy and never cheesy or mawkish at all. It might take a few spins to get into but when it sticks, it damn well sticks. Highly recommended.
More The Murder Of My Sweet reviews:
1. Tin Soldiers
2. My Religion
3. Head Of The Snake
4. Reason To Live
5. Safe In The Shadows
6. Hit The Ground
7. Everyone Wins
9. Keeper Of The Flame
10. Worth Fighting For
11. Alchemy Of Sins