Cryptic Wintermoon - A Coming Storm
Massacre Records
Symphonic Black Metal
14 songs (59:11)
Release year: 2003
Cryptic Wintermoon, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Jay

Ever since Dimmu Borgir hit it big with Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, there have been many imitators. While most have not found the right formula, Cryptic Wintermoon not only found the right formula, but they make it their own. They have the double bass, the vocals, the guitar, the synth and they mesh it together well while managing to stand out of the pack. The music is well constructed and the riffs, while not unique, are played well. This album will get them noticed in this burgeoning sector of the black metal genre.

The title track is standout. A slow ballad has a beautiful melody and if the vocals were clean, it might be perfect to run over the credits of an action movie. The cymbals on this song and the rest of the album have a great sound. They are sharp and crisp. The crashes are all distinct and none of them gets lost in the mix, as they do on most black metal albums. Lots of time was spent mixing this gem. “Hate Revealed” functions well as an opener. The keyboard intro reminded me of the music to the first Castlevania video game on the old Nintendo. Once the song gets going, it races out of the gate and gets you pumped to hear the rest of the album. I like the chorus riff a lot and the drummer proves he can handle the metal task with this song. “Supersatan” is one of my favorite songs on the album. The lyrics are about car racing so the song is meant to be taken with a grain of salt. I appreciate subtle humor like this, especially in a black metal song. The guitar work is spectacular especially the solos. One thing I like is that the band doesn’t try to break the sound barrier when playing. Sure, the songs are fast, but they don’t feel the need for snare-every-second drumming. The tempo is slow for black metal but it allows the listener to appreciate the intricate riffing and keyboard work. “Dark Crusade” is similar to “Supersatan” in terms of the music but it’s slightly faster. This album has a definite flow to it and there are recurring themes. “Darkness Forever” again is a slower song and it has a Viking feel to it. This is due to the arrangement between the keyboards and the guitars. This band has many interludes that allow for a more pleasurable listening experience. Mixing up tempos allows the songs to be easily digestible and enjoyable.

Of the multitudes of killing songs on this album, “Necromancer” is definitely one of them. The slow and grinding choruses offset the fast and tearing verses. Somewhere in the bridges, there is a happy medium. The arrangement of the album is what really makes it succeed. The riffs and keyboards become predictable after a while but the arrangement keeps you interested. That is the main problem with this album, the repetition of themes. Opeth does this well. The themes are recalled just fine but they are the same as they were the first time. Usually the repetition is varied, but here they are just the same. The songwriting needs some work in that respect. However, this is my only real issue with the album. “When All is Said and Done” is a great album closer for several reasons. First, you can’t beat that title. Secondly, it is very melodic and has thunder along with church bell sound effects that are blended well into the gloomy guitars. The guitars are perfect here. The chords on the keyboards match up well with the eerie solo. Finally, it revisits themes from the beginning.

Dimmu Borgir and Opeth fans will enjoy this one as well as Children of Bodom fans looking to expand their horizons. Any symphonic black metaller would be remiss to pass this album up.

Killing Songs :
This album should really be taken in as a whole but Necromancer, Supersatan, Dark Crusade and Hate Revealed standout.
Jay quoted 89 / 100
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