Nov 262011
 

Immortal Souls play winter metal. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger! I did not contrive that term; it is a description, which the band came up with. It is, for those who are not familiar with the music of Immortal Souls, most likely a term that does not ring a bell, so I hope the band doesn’t mind that I keep it within the regular metal genre frame: Immortal Souls play Scandinavian melodic death metal.

The band is known for the fact that they play typical melodic death and that they, in contrast with most of their fellow-countrymen, don’t add that specific Finnish flavor to their music, which you are so familiar with of bands like Amorphis, Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum. And within that word ‘typical’ there is a strength and weakness simultaneously. The music on previous albums was, despite being good, each time just too ordinary, too standard to even get noticed. Therefore I feel it is a pity that compared to their previous release ‘Wintereich’ (2007), there are not a lot of musical changes to be noticed on ‘IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death’. Too bad for some extra layers and some extra melancholy could have enriched their music a lot. What now remains, is the impression that the compositions are intriguing at only some spare moments (intro ‘Hypnotic Atrocity’), where they are most of the time are too chill, too straightforward (‘I Wept’, ‘Absolution’) and lack diversity. When the pace and aggression go up, it is then when the band is at its’ finest (‘Thoughts Of Desolation’, ‘Nuclear Winter’, ‘Evil Believer’). But at moments where the pace drop down to mid tempo (‘Last Day On Earth’, ‘Art of Death Act III: The Requiem Of The Funeral Eve’) it starts to become a lot harder to remain focused: the songs don’t differ enough and are stuck in the same atmosphere.

So, nothing new under the sun on this new album and everything with Immortal Souls is how things used to be? Semi-ballad ‘One Last Withering Rose’ makes usage of clean vocals (which are excellent) but they are quite out of tune on the album. ‘Art of Death Act III: The Requiem Eve Of The Funeral’ also has a predominantly slow pace with lots of rustic passages and is definitely not the closure that I had been waiting for.

Snow and winter are key issues for Immortal Souls… unfortunately I can not help thinking that ‘IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death’ is too bleak and will be snowed under in the comparison to other melodic death metal acts, which come with more varied and more attractive albums.

Rating: 70/10

Written by Patrick

Track list:
1. Art Of Death Act I: Soulbells
2. Evil Believer
3. Nuclear Winter
4. I Wept
5. Absolution
6. Art Of Death Act II: The Last Journey
7. Reek Of Rotting Rye
8. Last Day On Earth
9. Hypnotic Atrocity
10. Thoughts Of Desolation
11. One Last Withering Rose
12. Art Of Death Act III: The Requiem Of The Funeral Eve

Band:
Esa Särkioja – Guitars
Aki Särkioja – Vocals, Bass
Pete Loisa – Guitars
Juha Kronqvist – Drums

Discography:
Immortal Souls [1995]
Reflections of Doom [1997]
Divine Wintertime [1998]
The Cleansing EP [2000]
Under the Northern Sky [2001]
Ice Upon the Night [2003]
Ice Upon the Night – US Version [2004]
Once Upon a Time in the North [2005]
Wintereich [2007]

Label: Facedown RecordsDark Balance / 2011

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