Album Review: Ethereal Sin – The Psalms of Forgotten Saga

Ethereal Sin [Japan]
The Psalms of Forgotten Saga
Evoken de Valhall Productions
Symphonic Black Metal
7.0/10 Ethereal Sin – Solitude, Eternally… by heavymetaltribune

Japanese bands really have their charm, with the ability for most of them to attract me to genres that I usually do not listen to, or even dislike. The Psalms of Forgotten Saga is Japanese symphonic black metal band Ethereal Sin‘s latest EP, released late last year yet receiving little attention. After encountering mostly average and over-hyped symphonic black metal bands, it was hard to get me to listen to bands of that genre again, but seeing the country of origin of Ethereal Sin, this was definitely worth at least a go at.

The Psalms of Forgotten Saga is a short, 20 minute and 4 track EP and the band wastes not a single moment at all throughout the release to display their flair in the genre that they specialise in, bringing in unique elements at the same time into the music. The EP opens with the title track, an instrumental number, starting with a soothing melody and gradually builds up the ambience, complete with epic sounding atmosphere brought about by the folk-ish melodies brought forth by the keyboards, setting the mood right for the EP.

The moment the track ends, a furiously trem-picked riff marks the beginning of Comes at the Stormy Night. Although up to this moment there is nothing particularly special about Ethereal Sin‘s music, soon a haunting female vocals appears, and this vocals constantly makes appearances throughout. The different growling styles also helps to make things interesting. There is also the heavy usage of backing opera-styled vocals that help to make the already heavy atmosphere even denser, and this is certainly a nice touch to the music. The backing vocals also once again brings in the folk influences that are present in the music.

Also, unlike many other symphonic black metal bands that focus too much on the “symphonic” aspect and forgot about the black metal in the music, Ethereal Sin provides a perfect balance of the different elements. For example, the keyboards here are not overused and do not drown out the rest of the instruments, ensuring that the riffs of the guitars are clearly audible. Also, unlike many symphonic black metal bands, there is a pretty thin production quality of the album which makes for a slightly raw sound in the music, further bringing out the authenticity of the band’s music. The highlight on the EP is the closing track, Solitude, Eternally…, beginning with an acoustic guitar and spoken vocals (albeit in slightly broken English), bringing out the sadness in the music. It is this track that best represents the style of Ethereal Sin, where each instrument complements each other, bringing out the emotions in the music. The riffs are bleak and depressive, and the torturous shrieks towards the end of the track are sure to raise the hair on the backs of listeners.

One thing that could have helped to improve the album would be perhaps the inclusion of more guitar solos. The guitarists have proven their capabilities through the riffs and few solos that are present throughout the EP, and it is definitely a waste of the guitarists’ talents with the lack of inclusion of more prominent guitar spots on the EP. Also, on solos, rather than focussing on the speed it could have sounded better if the guitarists have chosen instead to focus more on the melody, such as on the first solo on Solitude, Eternally…

With The Psalms of Forgotten Saga, Ethereal Sin has proven how their 13 years of experience playing symphonic metal has not gone to waste, despite the relatively few releases that they have under their belts. Along with other symphonic black metal bands out of Japan (such as Juno Bloodlust and Tyrant), they have shown how there is hope for the mostly over-saturated market for symphonic-styled metal.

Ethereal Sin on the internet:
Official website

©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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