Columbia may not be very high on many people’s lists of countries that release a serious melodic death metal album but Eshtadur are once again doing exactly that. Having been around for over a decade the band have had a while to hone their craft and it is evident on this album that they have spent that time wisely… for the most part. Their latest offering Mother Gray is different for being both astounding and completely underwhelming at the same time.
The guitars and drums are tight, and the vocals rip through songs with a visceral aggression that really sets the foundation for a listen that delivers exactly what you’d expect from the genre. The band aren’t afraid to experiment with influences taken from their peers, which gives the record an all-encompassing feel that allows it to settle in nicely into a playlist if you were to choose to do so. The main problem with Mother Gray though, is that as a result of this experimentation you’d occasionally be forgiven for forgetting which band you are listening to. A lot of the songs don’t sound particularly special enough to fully stand out from the genre which they would fall under. They don’t seem to add enough unique features to allow it to stand out against some of the classic albums from the likes of In Flames, Arch Enemy or At the Gates, all bands who have blazed the trail which Eshtadur are now following in.
It feels like the main issue with this album is that it just doesn’t sound polished in its production. Whilst each individual aspect of the instrumentation and the vocals are good, together they don’t fit and sound off in the mix. It disappoints in this area and leaves a sour taste in what on balance is a solid release. With a bit more polish, this could have been an excellent record but this time, it’s just missed the mark.