Vesperian Sorrow - Stormwinds of Ages
The Path Less Traveled Records
Symphonic Black Metal
11 songs (57'28'')
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Jared

Somewhere lurking in the great state of Texas is a dark and neoclassical form of brutal symphonic black metal. The band formed in 1994 under the name “Unholy Descent” until changing to their current name in early 1999. Only four albums have been released since their formation and their current album is one to definitely be reckoned with. It may not be the greatest piece of metal I’ve heard spawned from black and symphonic influences, but it is a definite noteworthy album to have a listen to. Browsing YouTube a couple months back sparked my curiosity to give this band a shot. It’s an album filled with great memorable moments, some songs more than others, and leaves you feeling pretty satisfied at album’s end. However it did take a couple listens to really embrace the entire record. Stormwinds of Ages is a six year gap after their previous release which could make any serious fan of the band to have very high expectations for this album. After listening, I can safely say I’ve become a fan, and Vesperian Sorrow definitely should feel no shame in waving their Texas banner high to their newest work.

This album has a ton of fantastic ideas thrown into the album. It’s pretty obvious after six years the band has been recharging for something pretty spectacular. Vesperian Sorrow is a band that many probably have never heard of, me included. If you slap on the term “black metal” to a band you can only think of it containing satanic lyrics or themes but Vesperian Sorrow takes a different approach. The theme and imagery is centered on sorrow and darkness, hence sorrow being included in their name which is hard to miss. I’ll be completely honest that I’ve grown pretty tired of black metal influenced bands constantly describing anything Satanic or Anti-Christian they can to make their album feel more appropriate to its audience. It’s all pretty cliché in my opinion and I’m happy to see a different theme for the band to choose for itself.

Since the lyrics are a bit different than one may expect, the vocals are pretty much what one would think to hear with such a band. Most of the vocals are higher shrieks and at times the singer can tend to get a bit lower. The album however does contain a few moments of clean singing. Nothing I want to say really caught my attention like the voice of ICS Vortex or anything, but they do make a pretty nice addition to how the album plays out as a whole.

This album rarely slows down with the exception of the song Death She Cried towards the end of the album. There are only maybe a couple instances where a calm keyboard part will take over. Drumming for one is not your constant barrage of blast beats that never decide to slow down. Keep in mind there are blast beats, but the drummer does very well in changing up his play styles throughout the entire album. Drumming comes in a lot of variety on the album which I think a lot of people should be happy with.

The guitars are played with thrash and extreme metal influences. Some “extreme” style metal bands can easily turn me off at times, but Vesperian Sorrow got me interested and hooked shortly after about the third or fourth track. The guitar work has some pretty impressive leads, nothing I can say that’s innovative or original, but it’s definitely far from being labeled as an ear sore. The keyboards also are well done. I don’t think there was a single song where the keyboards would back off for only a few seconds at times. One wish I had for the album is that there was a song devoted just to the keyboards. I’m sure if given the chance on the album, they could have really impressed by themselves alone.

The album may take a little to get use to at first but I’d like to say it was a very good first introduction to the band. I definitely will look more into their previous records to see what they have to offer. Maybe the farther back I go into the band’s discography, I will find something I will like even more.

Killing Songs :
: An Empire to Mourn, Crown of Glass, Eye of the Clocktower, Oracle from the Ashes, Relics of Impurity
Jared quoted 84 / 100
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