Belgian act Reject the Sickness didn’t exactly leave me champing at the bit for a follow-up to their competent but rather forgettable 2015 debut Chains of Solitude. Yet there were enough hints of unrealized potential encased in their modern melodeath sound if they were able to write more memorable songs and ditch the derivative aspects of their well-worn formula. Creative stagnation has plagued the modern melodeath scene for years, with the over-saturated market dominated by a handful of select bands injecting life into the sub-genre, while mediocre imitators pile up beneath. So does The Weight of Silence redeem Reject the Sickness and do enough to elevate their status beyond cookie-cutter levels of third-tier tedium?
Much like the debut, it’s difficult to fault the aggression, energy and solid instrumental chops displayed by the band. The members of Reject the Sickness know their way around their instruments and clearly enjoy what they do, demonstrating plenty of passion for their chosen style. Overall there’s a notably tougher, heavier edge this time round, and the less appealing metalcore elements from the debut have been pleasingly scaled back. The thrashy, speedier edge enliven certain songs in particular, such as the chugging grooves and vibrant rhythms of “Face the Storm,” and the At the Gates worship of “Saviour.” Both are worthy examples of what the band can muster, despite not being particularly original. If only they could more consistently pen material that hits the standards of the stronger cuts here, The Weight of Silence may be an album worth pursuing. Unfortunately maintaining consistency and writing material to draw the listener back in continues to elude the band, their collective best efforts aside.
While the stronger cuts outweigh the material from the debut, Reject the Sickness continue having difficulty making lasting inroads, with hooks struggling to penetrate, bloated song-writing cropping-up, and a bland, generic feel hurting chunks of the album. Songs like the regrettably clunky, angst-ridden modern metal of “Never Trust a Liar” doesn’t help their cause either. Bleeding between tracks is another reoccurring issue, creating an interchangeable vibe, especially during the album’s second half. Snippets of songs sporadically impress, but there’re far too few examples of the band writing songs front to back that sustain interest. And overall the song-writing too often succumbs to faceless mediocrity.
Although it stumbles on occasion, lengthy closer “Awakening” features a few ripping segments, winding down with a rather abrupt transition into a pretty, melancholic piano melody to close the album out. Across The Weight of Silence, the guitar work produces flashes of style and substance, especially on standout “Saviour,” and the speedy fretwork of “Reclaim the Throne.” Unfortunately, the majority of riffs fail to leave a lasting impact, which is disappointing considering the accomplished instrumental skills of the band. Meanwhile, the mostly mid-ranged growled vocals lack character, sounding typical and generic, with the cleans not strong enough to take the load off. On the production front The Weight of Silence sounds fairly typical of similarly minded modern metal acts; loud, polished and not offering much in the way of sonic excitement.
Reject the Sickness is a talented but middling melodeath band that haven’t lifted their game significantly enough since their debut to gain any real traction. Once again their talent as musicians is evident, but when the word ‘generic’ keeps popping into your head as a descriptor, the signs aren’t good. It’s a shame really as top-shelf modern melodeath albums appear increasingly elusive to discover. The Weight of Silence is a competently performed album with a few decent songs but ultimately falls flat in the wake of debilitating issues, failing to deliver a satisfying melodeath kick.