John Jackson

Dark Sarah – “Attack of Orym”

 Posted by on January 25, 2023 at 16:46  No Responses »
Jan 252023

Dark Sarah continues to evolve their sound but stays close to their symphonic/cinematic metal horror roots in their latest fantasy concept album Attack of the Orym.

Attack of the Orym is the fifth album from Dark Sarah, who prominently feature the vocals of Heidi Parviainen (ex-Amberian Dawn), a classically trained singer. After parting ways with Amberian Dawn in 2012, Heidi started a solo project and Dark Sarah was born. The first releases, including Behind the Black Veil, The Puzzle (2016) and The Golden Moth (2018), describe the journey of a young woman left at the altar who undergoes a near breakdown that wakes up the darker reflection of herself, Dark Sarah. In 2020 with the release of Grim, Dark Sarah move on to a new story in a concept album describing the story of Luna, who journeys through a mystical world facing dangers along the way. Attack of the Orym continues the concept album theme for the band and continues the story from Grim and like the others, was completely funded through Indiegogo. In their native Finland the band has toured with Sonata Arctica and supported Within Temptation. Heidi and Miko Mustonen created the music and lyrics for Attack of the Orym and production and mixing was handled by Miko at Pathos Music (Delain, Sonata Arctica, Ensiferum). Mastering was done by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers (Volbeat, Sonata Arctica, Korpiklaani). The band did bring in some outside artists for this album with Mark Jansen (Epica) adding voice to Orym, JP Leppäluoto taking the role of Dragon and Kasperi Keikkinen (Beast in Black) adding a couple guitar solos.

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Jan 242023

Mysterious goth metal band Walk in Darkness return with their fourth album, Leaves Rolling in Time, featuring Nicoletta Rosellini (Kalidia) on vocals.

Walk in Darkness is one of those interesting bands who prefer to let the music speak for them. Promo pictures are all of hooded figures, faces obscured except for the female vocalist Nicoletta Rosseline (Kalidia). The band originates from Italy, but other than that, information is scarce. The band has videos on YouTube that have been viewed over 12 million times, so they definitely have created a fan base. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Virus Recording Studio with sound engineering by Alessandro Guaconi. For Leaves Rolling in Time, the band brought in a couple extra vocalists, with Emiliano Pasquinelli (ex-Thuchulca) handling the dark growled vocals and Elisabetta Bettini (Two of Spades) contributing some lines on the song “My Restless Wings”.

Once again, here is another band I knew nothing about prior to getting this album to review and now I have a few more albums to go back and listen to. From the very first listen without looking up any information on the band, I was pretty sure there was more than one vocalist for the female vocals, but as it turns out there is just one, Nicoletta Rosselini (Kalidia) and that should tell you quite a bit about here range and talent, very strong lower register and powerfully beautiful upper register.

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Dec 152022

The “classic” Becoming the Archetype lineup of Jason Wisdom, Seth Hecox, and Brent “Duck” Duckett return after more than 10 years apart to deliver a heavy progressive death metal album filled not only with everything one would expect but also a few surprises.

Ever since their debut album, Terminate Damnation, in 2005, Becoming the Archetype have maintained and expanded their base of followers who have appreciate their unique blend of technical, progressive, and death metal. The Physics of Fire followed in 2007 and Dichotomy in 2008 where Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) produced and guested as well as Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter. Over the years, the band toured with the likes of Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, Zao, the Chariot and others solidifying their audience. In 2011, the band partnered with producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Chariot) for the experimental Celestial Completion which even featured a ska –like trombone part in one track. That album saw the departure of founding members Brent “Duck” Duckett and Jason Wisdom until a reunion in 2020 when the band began writing Children of the Great Extinction which eventually was produced by Nate Washburn (My Epic) and saw guest appearances by former guitarists Daniel Gailey (Phineas, Fit for a King) and Alex Kenis (Alethian) providing solos on “The Lost Colony” and “The Calling”, respectively.

The album opens up with “The Dead World” and has multiple guitars layered into a central riff that builds and eventually ends with Jason Wisdom’s shouted vocals coming in and the verse section taking off. Drummer Brent “Duck” Duckett gets a bit of a speed workout for much of the song alternating with the slower chorus sections and combined with Seth Hecox guitar, keyboard elements and clean vocals, the song itself fits well within the BTA catalog. I especially like the ending with the somewhat strangled guitar in the outro.

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Dec 142022

Confessions of a Traitor bring emotion and authenticity to their first release on Facedown Records, delivering a punishing metalcore album that works in so many ways.

Confessions of a Traitor are one of the most recent signings to Facedown Records and definitely fit the the sound of what many of have come to expect from Facedown since the early 2000s, namely metalcore with faith-influenced lyrics. C.O.A.T are London based and have released two eps, Seasons in 2014, and Illuminate in 2016 and a full length titled Guided  in October 2019. The band describes their sound as a “blend of melodic elements with crushing grooves” that “evoke emotion and energy.” The band strives to create an atmosphere that gives hope and provides “an escape for people, even if just for a moment.”

“Aggressive music for positive people” features prominently in the C.O.A.T. bio and the album certainly fits that description. Right from the opening track there is no question this is a metalcore album in the Facedown Records tradition. “Punishing Myself Before God Does” has good pounding drums, heavy down-tuned guitars, and some great vocals both in the shouted verses and in the clean almost soaring chorus/group parts. Overall the track has a bit of a catchy groove feel to it and nevertheless is heavy. Taking a higher level view, there is a bit of familiarity to the track and many on the album as they employ many of the expected sonic elements found in metalcore songs.

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Nov 162022

Scarlet Oath have released their second album featuring a blend of black, gothic, progressive, death, and doom metal combined into the theatrical, providing a unique experience for the listener.

Let me just start with saying this album is like none I’ve reviewed before. Sure, I’ve covered a lot of extreme metal, black, death, goth, progressive, and even doom which I try to avoid, but I’ve never had to switch between all of those genres on one album, let alone try to make those changes within a single song. Granted there are only 4 songs on this 42 minute release, so the songs are long, but still there is a lot going on here. As a final piece of the puzzle, there is an unmistakable theatric element at play which does provide some context for the changes and that can best be seen in the video for the song “Ichabod” which frankly is mesmerizing.

Screams and sounds of suffering open the album providing a dark, foreboding atmosphere and the repeating clean guitar sounds like an intro to a Slayer song, so by now the listener is fully expecting something heavy and “Where Their Worm Dieth Not” does not disappoint. The early verse parts are delivered by a deep, spoken voice until the song picks up pace and heads toward the black metal side of things including the requisite shrieking vocals. Clean female vocals come in and then things quiet down, briefly before the guitars come back and the song shifts to a pounding, marching riff accented by keyboards and then guitars and more gothic clean female vocals. Production on the album is great, allowing all of the various elements and instruments to come through cleanly, highlighting the work of Derek Corzine (Alethian, Whisper from Heaven, Blood Thirsty) at Corzine Studios.

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