December 5, 2012

Vesperian Sorrow - Stormwinds of Ages

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Jon Zig

Vesperian Sorrow are a symphonic black metal band that hail, unusually, from Austin, TX. They formed in 1994, but adopted their current name in 1999. Vesperian Sorrow are less openly Satanic than most tr00 and kvlt bands, preferring instead to deal with themes like the vastness of the cosmos and human despair in their music. Stormwind of Ages is only their fourth full-length and is the first recorded material they've released since 2006.

The symphonic elements on the album come primarily in the form of synths and keyboards, as well as some choral vocals, which appear so low in the mix that they may be synthesized as well. The production is very clean and crisp – a tidiness that suits the gleaming complexity of the music well. The black metal aspects of Vesperian Sorrow's sound are most present in the wet, gargling, harsh vocals and the angry-hornets' nest guitars. The drumming is dynamic and varied, from the blast beats on "An Empire to Mourn" to the military-inspired, restrained pulse of "Crown of Glass."

Generally, the combination of black metal and orchestral elements is often poorly executed and consequently, often disparaged. While Vesperian Sorrow are not redefining any genres or transforming them from within with Stormwind of Ages, they have assembled a collection of well-constructed songs and have a solid sense of their musical identity.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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