Review Summary: Sorrow, sadness, emptiness and melody are predominantly present throughout. None of the songs feel out of place in the record, all of them fitting well into the puzzle to hypnotize the listener into the gloomy atmosphere this album creates.
This is Italian Graveworm's debut album, which sounds very different from their newer albums Collateral Defect, N(utopia), and Engraved in Black. This albums sounds a lot more similar to As The Angels Reach the Beauty or Scourge of Malice. In case you are not familiar with said albums, the whole pace of the songs is rather medium to slow for metal. The songs give an overall somber feeling, which is constructed mostly by the keyboard arrangements by Sabine Mair. Also noteworthy is the fact that the album would feel a lot more empty without their use since they serve much more than just background. Violin arrangements also help set this incredible aura.
During the first half of the album the songs tend to be longer while at the end reaching average length for a song, having a total of 42 minutes in 9 songs. All of them open-up with some kind of melodic intro with the keyboard, which effectively sets the feeling for the song. Some of them even incorporate acoustic guitars, such as in "Far Away", and a frequent use of the violin which certainly adds variety. The vocals department offers some variety, having mostly low-pitched growls and occasional higher pitched vocals for faster parts, such as in "Another Season". The lyrics are very poetic and doleful, providing a very good read for anyone interested in them. They also use the word "cry" very frequently in this album.
From the first song "Awake" the majestic melodic intro comes into play, followed by Stefano's signature scream and the vocals. This song has a melodic guitar solo and frequently uses keyboards to add a gothic aura to the album. Pretty much this song uses all of the above said elements in such a way that paves the way for the listener into the rest of the album. The song "Eternal Winds" begins with the sound of a storm coming up which reminds me of The Nothing from the movie "The Neverending Story". "When the Sky Turns Black" uses a very beautiful acoustic intro, which gives the listener something new, while still having the pessimistic inclination of the album. The last song is splendid instrumental listen, using different instruments while still having the epic keyboards in use. It also features a unique way of percussion which is a lot less harsh.
Now the album also has some flaws. In the drumming department there is not really much that stands out, it seems pretty average. But it coordinates with the overall slow speed of the songs, so don't expect ear-splitting blast beats. Personally, at times it seems repetitive and bland. It also becomes louder than it needs to in some parts, where the keyboards could have been more prominent as they are vital for the mood the album tries to set. The guitar department is quite melodic, but does not really offer anything that really stands out, however this is not really needed due to the other elements in the album being able to cover for this.
This album is strongly recommended for anyone into Gothic metal, Doom Metal, Symphonic Black Metal or Melodic Black metal. This album is also one of Graveworm's best, although the elements used in this album are made even stronger in the follow-up "As The Angels Reach The Beauty".