Vesperian Sorrow [USA]
Stormwinds of Ages
The Path Less Traveled Records
Symphonic Black Metal
6 years in the making, American symphonic black metal band Vesperian Sorrow finally releases their follow up to 2006’s Regenesis Creation with Stormwinds of Ages. With Regenesis Creation garnering largely positive feedback from the music community, Vesperian Sorrow faces quite a challenge with Stormwinds of Ages, especially since it has been a rather long while since they last released new material.
Fortunately the band manages to meet expectations with the excellent musicianship that is present on Stormwinds of Ages. While symphonic black metal might bring evoke an image of beauty and melody, Vesperian Sorrows on Stormwinds of Ages has managed to fuse this side of the music with an equally aggressive side, resulting in an extremely powerful sounding record, yet never neglecting any of the symphonic elements in their music. While the riffs that guitarist William unleash are razor sharp and extremely precise, the one thing that really stole the limelight personally seems to be drummer Kristoph with his energetic drumming on the record, reminding me of my first exposure to symphonic black metal and Hellhammer’s drumming on Dimmu Borgir‘s Stormblåst MMV, with the powerful and majestic style of drumming. William also displays his technical abilities with the numerous neo-classical inspired solos that are littered throughout the album. The versatility of William and JZD is further shown on tracks like Legacies Befallen with the complex death metal riffing patterns, sounding like a blackened version of Fleshgod Apocalypse at times.
The quality of the music that the band has written on Stormwinds of Ages is such that even without the symphonic elements in the music, the record could have easily been as powerful with the intensity of the music and the speed that the band goes at. However, the synths that are constantly present throughout the record help to create a heavy and at times, haunting atmosphere without sounding cheesy, helping to make listening to Stormwinds of Ages a fuller experience. Songs like Casting Dawn into Shadows also make use of female vocals, providing a somewhat operatic effect, and Crown of Glass even has a Spanish folk-inspired acoustic lead guitar, constantly surprising listeners with unexpected influences throughout.
Of course, the excellent musicianship of Vesperian Sorrow would have probably gone to waste if not for the crisp and bombastic production quality of the album, giving a loud and clear voice to each of the individual instruments on the album. The biting tone of the rhythm guitars help to ensnare the listener’s attention and the lack of the lower end is made up for with the bass guitars, providing a nice balance. Stormwinds of Ages is overall an extremely powerful, yet enjoyable and catchy record, and is sure to please any fans of symphonic extreme metal.