Review Summary: More people need to hear this album.
Vesperian Sorrow, not a band many have heard of (judging from numbers on the band page) A little history for those that don't know. The band formed in 1994 under the name "Unholy Descent" until finally changing their name to "Vesperian Sorrow" in 1999. So far they have only released 4 studio albums. "Beyond the Cursed Eclipse" in 1999. "Psychotic Sculpture" in 2001. "Regenisis Creation" in 2006 and finally "Stormwinds Of Ages" in 2012. The band play Symphonic black metal. And they do so very, very well.
Onto the album. The album starts off with an instrumental. It opens with what sounds to be an extremely constipated idiot trying to sound evil, its a good thing the vocals on this album are pretty decent, although typical for Black Metal. After that the music kicks in and builds up. Keyboards and backing chants are used to create atmosphere. After the little build up the music seems to just.. cut out. It just completley stops and starts the next track, not a very fluid transition. I honestly don't see the point in this intro, as never does it feel like its apart of the album. The next track, entitled "Stormwinds Of Ages" does not disappoint. We are greeted to a powerful guitar chord played over epic sounding keyboards, with a typical Black Metal scream coming in over the top. The band is very competant at creating atmosphere, mostly in part to the epic sounding keyboards, fluid transitions and fantastic riffs/leads the band throws at you.
The fourth track feautres backing vocals from an, at this point in time unknown female. She manages to do a pretty good job, never sounding cheesy and never taking anything away from the music. She reappears once or twice through-out the album, and fits in perfectly. At one point in the album, the vocals seemingly change to power metal vocals. It was really quite odd to hear in this type of music, but I do think the band pulled it off well.
Another thing about the album that is note northy are the solos and leads. Solos appear in every song, running the gambit from blistering to slow and methodical. The leads thrown at you help keep the songs sounding fresh and always distinguishing themselves from one another. Some sound desperate, others full of sorrow and all that black metal stuff. Drumming is played well, keeping a constant tempo and changing it up from time to time.
There are a few downsides, one is the run time. At a total of 57 minutes, some may not be able to listen to this in one sitting, and after a while the songs do start to sound same-ish. Also the lyrics are incomprehensible, and I can't find a lyric sheet anywhere. Bass is almost nonexsistent as well.
Overall this album is a fantastic release. I've only ever heard 2 albums from this band, the other being their first "Beyond The Cursed Eclipse" The production is crystal clear (despite not being able to hear the bass) the music is intense, epic and dark. Never sounding pretentious or silly (aside from the intro) and has enough diversity to keep any fan of the genre satisfied.
Stormwinds Of Ages
Casting Dawn Into Shadow
Oracle Of The Ashes
Of Opiates And Accolades