When MetalSucks posted Silence Lies Fear on their list of underlooked albums, they had me at "Dark Tranquillity." The comparison is more than fair, with this album's somber take on melodic death metal that feels more about scope than aggression. Insomnium seems like another strong parallel and opener "Beyond Reality" brought to mind my previous praise for the latest Serenity in Murder release. All comparisons aside, this is just a killer record.
I'll try to avoid my overused summary of how bloated this genre is, but just know that any melodeath album I post at this point in my life must have truly struck me in some way. In the case of Future: The Return, it was primarily a matter of emotional attachment; one that is largely thanks to compelling guitar melodies and conviction in the vocal performance. No singing here, but these death growls do more than enough to convey what is needed. The familiar riffs similarly take the basic foundation, but forge it stronger than the competition.
There's also a nice heaping dose of piano and other symphonics to consider. This is where allusions to Fiction and Haven truly shine forth. The arrangements are very heartfelt and soothing, providing an excellent contrast with the rampancy of the drumming. Solo work, as on "Son of Universe," allows the instrumentation to join in emotive congruency for satisfying climaxes, while the addition of female vocals on "Andromeda" is simply gorgeous.
I have reviewed a few melodeath albums recently that I felt rose above the pack, but this stands apart in its atmosphere and consistency. If you were looking for some great balls-to-the-wall melothrash, you might prefer something like Dysnomia. But if you want something with a wider range, this is your best bet of 2015 so far. For me, it works on both levels: I enjoyed it equally sitting at my desk as during my daily run. The thick layering of varied textures and paces saw to that with aplomb. Anyways, you can make it yours on bandcamp for $12. This is another one of those steeper pricetags, but I wouldn't be discussing it here if I didn't think it was worth it.