Review Summary: Imitation is art and art is good.
Paradise Lost’s exceptional craftmanship on The Plague Within
amounted to a seminal milestone for the band. Their ability to construct songs with a death and doom metal framework and add poignant, yet beautifully accessible and melodic guitar passages made it a metal record for the ages, a project that will be looked on for years to come. Right now, you’re probably looking at the band name for this review with confusion; why would I open up this review for On Thorns I Lay’s latest endeavour by giving credit to one of Paradise Lost’s grounding achievements? That’s simply because from the moment I heard the opening notes to “Erevos”, it was undeniable in thinking the influence came from anything other than The Plague Within
. Maybe I’m completely wrong with my initial analogy. Maybe I need to listen to more bands of this sort. But everything on that song, from the sludgy rhythm section right down to the catchy guitar parts and guttural lows from the vocals, emitted the unshakable feeling Aegean Sorrow
is using Paradise Lost’s 2015 effort as a crutch.
It might seem like I’m pissing all over Aegean Sorrow
, but the truth is I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a line that some bands can sit on where they don’t have to be an inventor, nor do they have to make their music sound tired. There’s nothing original to be found here, but if, like me, you loved The Plague Within
you’re going to be in your element here. The meaty production, clarity from the great guitarwork and symphonic undertones all bring enjoyable results, and one that rarely slips up. The harmonised guitar soloing on a song like “In Emerald Eyes”, the instantly infectious guitar opening to “Erevos” or the unwaveringly impressive vocal work ensures a gratifying delivery, and one that will see fans going back for more after it’s finished. It’s a consistently interesting album that offers solid death and doom metal with the occasional curve ball to keep you on your toes: “Olethros, Pt. I” ups the adrenaline dosage with a quicker tempo, punchy chugging guitars and some excellent descending chord changes that add a cathartic feeling to the song, before offering up more bright and well-made guitar solos.
Like I say, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard before. What stops this from being a derived farce is that it uses these tropes as a badge of honour and builds its foundation with love and care for the genre. Even the predictability of “Olethros, Pt. I” shifting into a sombre acoustic number for "Olethros, Pt. II” didn’t turn into an eye-rolling exercise like it normally would. It’s all handled very well, and it’s hard to really pick fault with Aegean Sorrow
, bar its obvious flaw. The bottom line is that if you’re a fan of this type of music, it’s hard not to find solace in what it offers. Just don’t go into it expecting anything other than the spade being a spade.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A