A Canorous Quintet

Album Title: 
The Quintessence
Release Date: 
Friday, May 24, 2013
Review Type: 

A Canorous Quintet were formed during the very early nineties as A Canorous Quartet as, indeed, a quartet. The first ‘real’ line-up consisted of drummer Mattias Puttonen, bass player Linus Petterson (who switched over to guitars shortly after the change of moniker), and two guys who are pretty well-known nowadays: Fredrik Andersson, the drummer of Amon Amarth (in A Canorous Quartet he played the guitars), and vocalist Mårten Hansen, whom you might know from his collaboration with e.g. Sins Of Omission or Votur. In 1993, Mattias left and Fredrik took over the drum duties. Matthias Ehlin (the guy known for bands like Devlin (solo), Siebenbürgen or Grand Illusion) and Linus Nirbrant joined to play the guitars; the latter has also been involved with Guidance Of Sin, an interesting melodic Death Metal act that was rather active during the second half of the nineties, and wherein Fredrik used to be part of as well, by the way; he was also one of the two members of the ‘legendary’ Grindeath act The Dead. Since there were five members now, the members decided to change the moniker into A Canorous Quintet, which sounds much more logical, of course. Also in 1993, the combo recorded and released a first demo (back then still on tape / cassette), which was called The Time Of Autumn. Matthias and Linus P. left in 1994 and were replaced by respectively Leo Pignon (he did play with Fredrik in Curriculum Mortis, a short-lived project during the early 2000’s, and is known from his co-operation with great Black-act Niden Div. 187 too) on guitar, and another Guidance Of Sin-member, Jesper Löfgren, on bass. The first official release was the 1995-7”EP As Tears (Chaos Records), followed one year later on by the debut full length studio album Silence Of The World Beyond via No Fashion Records. In 1998 a second full length was released through the very same label, called The Only Pure Hate, but in 1999 A Canorous Quintet decided to split up. The members decided to concentrate on other subjects, such as private matters or the other bands they were involved with at that time.

The story continues as from 2005. The five colleagues wanted to collaborate together again, so all five of them decided to reform, but under a new moniker. The Plague were born. The quintet recorded a demo in 2006 and after they had been contacted by Metal Blade, again they changed of name, this time into This Ending. And it is under this very same moniker these five musicians are still active, with two more-than-acceptable full lengths and one EP on their roster in mean time.

As This Ending, the quintet is still active, but there was one last release done under the moniker of A Canorous Quintet in 2012, the Reflections Of The Mirror-EP (Temple Of Darkness Records), which consists of two re-recorded songs once done by the band yet never released officially (and reworked by Fredrik, Linus and Mårten). Originally, these tracks were supposed to be on the 1996-album Silence …

This double-album compiles most material ever recorded under the A Canorous Quintet-moniker, going for most of the official released stuff, and some previously unreleased songs. The Quintessence opens with the Silence Of The World Beyond-album, bringing rather typically Swedish-oriented Death Metal in the vein of the nineties, which means: melodic, dark-edged and technically well-skilled in both structure as performance. The sound of that specific era is gloriously present, but that certainly was the perfect soundtrack for aural orgasms back then, not?! The whole was recorded at the very end of 1995 at the famous Abyss Studio with Peter Tägtgren, who provided some guest vocals, by the way, and this production sort of characterises both that era and sound. Nothing wrong with that, for sure… What’s great about this stuff, is the nice balance of extreme and extravert aggression and introvert integrity. Dissection, Unanimated, Dawn or At The Gates surely were of influence back then, but one cannot deny the influence of Peter T. and his Hypocrisy-magnificence for sure. Besides an overload on aggressive and intense parts, this record come with different atmospheric or tranquillised excerpts, and that’s a nice counterbalance to the melodic brutalisation of the package.

The first disc also includes a live track, the title track of aforementioned album, in a grandiose quality. The latter goes not for the sound only (which is like it has been manipulated shamelessly in a professional studio), but also for the great performance. But as mentioned before, the skilled line-up cannot disappoint, can it?! Further on, there are three ‘new’ tracks, done in 2012, which are much more black-thrashy oriented than ever before, but without forgetting the Swedeath-roots evidently. Two of the tracks, unreleased, were, for your information, recorded at the Audiogrind Studio.

The second disc brings The Only Pure Hate from 1998, which did differ from Silence … The main difference would be the more obscured approach, which was, in both sound and performance, much more abyssal in different aspects. At the same time, this second full length was much more catchy and inviting than the former material, and way more evident. This album was recorded with producers / engineers Jocke Pettersson and Tomas Skogsberg (the latter also took care of the final mix), and it defines the difference in sound in between the debut full length and this second one, of course. Next are two demo tracks, recorded right before the band entered the studio in order to record the second full length, followed by the songs of 1995’s As Tears-EP. This stuff was originally registered at the famous Unisound Studio with Dan Swanö and it surely was more intense than the debut full length, Silence … As a matter of fact, this mini-release was quite promising, and somewhat visionary-inventive. As Tears surely was, and still is, one of my favourite EP’s from 1995, and I’m glad to have this material on CD right now.