Season of Mist
The masterminds behind Vintersorg and Borknagar, two of perhaps the most influential black/folk metal bands out of Norway came together in 2005 to form a side project that was to be different sounding from each of their main bands: Cronian. Despite their rather busy schedules respectively, the duo this year releases their third full length album Erathems.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly aware of Cronian before Erathems despite the knowledge of the existence of a side project. Cold Wave Eruption gives a rather melodic death metal touch to the band’s music, with Vintersorg’s blood-drenched growls accompanying the melodies that are unleashed by Oystein, reminding one of the melodic style of Finnish bands such as Eternal Tears of Sorrow. But what really struck me as familiar was the clean singing of Vintersorg, that really led me to find out more about the band and realising (unsurprisingly) their history.
Obviously, when two of some of the greatest minds in extreme metal meet in a band like this, the songwriting is superb, with a whole range of influences that are brought into the mix. Fortunately as well, the band manages to prevent itself from becoming just another Borknagar or Vintersorg clone, and what Cronian presets with Erathems is an epic release in its own rights. The guitar solos that Oystein includes take a more conventional melodic approach. The songwriting of the duo is shown off through the myriad of emotions that one goes through in the listening experience of Erathem, and Vintersorg’s vocals really does this job really well, from the aggressive and angry growls to the more emotional, soaring clean vocals.
Furthermore, songs like Ecocracy see the band put in a rather folkish, oriental sound in the intro with the melodies that are infused, and to be honest, this helps in making Cronian sound rather refreshing to the ears. The chimes of the bells on the track also leaves one in a dreamlike state, and Moments and Monuments gives a heroic moment to the listener.
As an additional topping to the already excellent experience, the production job on Erathems is stellar, allowing for an even more powerful time listening to the album. While the later works by Vintersorg or Borknagar have not really appealed to me, I have to say that Cronian‘s third full length onslaught has been an extremely pleasant surprise, and an equally enjoyable listen.