Sons Of Seasons
First off all, damn this band for making me spell "Magnisphyricon" and excuse me if I never mention it again in the rest of this review. Don't get me wrong, this album is a gem, but if I ever meet an "m-something" in person, I'm kicking it in the balls.
That lunacy being spread, let's turn to the actual music. Sons Of Seasons' peculiar dark and mystic atmosphere makes me feel like they're the wicked orchestra of an underground cathedral, where a collection of hooded figures comes to shun the daylight and pray for dusk in its unholy halls. Just listen to the rallying chorus of "Bubonic Waltz" and you can just imagine vocalist Henning Basse as a madman-turned-preacher, spreading the gospel of the damned to the plague-ridden masses. And if I'd be one of them, I'd be shaking my wart-infested fists in agreement too.
The Germany-based outfit owes the invocation of such an image to their unique branch of progressive symphonic metal. As on the debut "Gods Of Vermin", the band displays a talent for writing dark and experimental, yet catchy songs; only this time the product as a whole seems more balanced and streamlined. Without sacrificing variety or duration, the album never wears out or overstays its welcome until the last note has stopped playing.
The diversity here is impressive. This band can seemingly do anything without betraying their style. Be it sweeping songs like the stellar "Soul Symmetry" or "1413" or furious anthems like "Guilt's Mirror" or "Tales Of Greed", Sons of Seasons pulls it off with more class and slickness than an octopus in a tuxedo. A minor flaw is the more introverted piece "Sanctuary", that feels a little out of place and pales when compared to previous collaborations with Simone Simons, like "Fallen Family" or "Wintersmith".
I'll admit to not being his biggest fan, but Henning Basse's performance here is spot-on. The man can go from a sinister whisper to a bellowing scream in a fraction of a second. The duty of show-stealer goes to Oliver Palotai though, this is his pet project after all. If the monstrous riffs and drumming are the body of the music, then his tasty and ever-shapeshifting keyboards are the heart. I appreciate his work in Kamelot, but I'm glad he has an opportunity to go off the leash, as the result is magnificent.
Sons Of Seasons isn't an easy band to get into, but if you're willing to venture down into their creepy catacombs, you may find all the wonders diabolic grandeur has to offer on - fine, I'll spell it once more - "Magnisphyricon".
Arno Callens' rating: 4.25 out of 5