Review Summary: In the world of metal many bands often face making a choice of either technicality and speed or immersion and emotion; Sonburst answered this question with ‘yes’.
Wearing their influences on their sleeves, local Ottawa band Sonburst bring forth a brand of melodic death metal celebrating both the progressive and power metal tinged facets of the genre. Crafting both beautiful as well as intensely technical passages, Sonburst are an unrelenting force and in the span of merely three songs manage to sample multiple tempos, metal styles and leave the listener wanting more.
Without a moment to spare Sonburst begin their EP with a banger dishing out a crushing very thrash inspired song. 'Parallel Dream Omen' brandishes a momentum that seems to only get infinitely faster as the song progresses. This process is brought about through the miracle of guitar duelling which finds itself as a common feature throughout ‘Weeping Willow EP’. Subtle trade-offs between noodling power metal style and hard hitting heavy metal keeps the pacing and shifts dynamic and engaging. The effortless and fluid nature of commonplace dynamic shifts holds the songs purposeful making blindingly fast riffs immersive and believable.
Vocalist Cody Ford may spend most of his time focusing on his intricate guitar work but on the occasion vocals are utilized they act as powerful tools for personifying and demystifying the powerful lore behind all those intricate layers of instrumentation. Ford’s vocals both clean and harsh are well above average; delivering unsettling desperation in his death growls and churning out naturally arena sized, boding cleans. ‘Weeping Willow’ may have not come with a lyrics booklet but that is alright because the chaos and mournfulness expressed throughout this album do more than enough to paint a vivid picture.
Although this album is primarily fixated on tight technical playing the softer sections are also excellent in their own right as well. Strings are plucked delicately and produced meticulously with many melancholy sounds stemming from all directions. While the slow sections are haunting, they do not always translate well in the trade-off between soft and heavier sections. The overwhelming standard pace of this album makes transitioning into slower sections feel a bit unnatural and disconnected from the album as a whole. The pacing issue may be a bit on the side of the drummer, although his playing is tight, extremely fast and creative, the drummer can at times can end up showing off a bit too much and take away from the synchronization of the band. The matter becomes much more evident when investigating the softer sections where the drums can be a little too energetic and quick for the melancholy imagery the rest of the band is shooting for.
In short ‘Weeping Willow’ is a superb EP blending the styles of their legendary influences such as Wintersun and Opeth the band creates something entirely of their own. In the world of metal many bands often make a choice of either technicality and speed or immersion and emotion. Sonburst answered this question with ‘yes’.