Thornafire (Chile): Eclipse Nox Coagula (Ibex Moon)
The quality of this album is excellent. The songs illustrate a very serious work ethic in terms of guitar riffs utilized and in the ways that the tracks are constructed. In the almost 40 minutes of practically flawless death metal, Thornafire’s songs highlight guitar work that ranges from huge, quick-impact rhythms to cold, dissonant moment of heaviness and sometimes the heavy riffs may have an affinity for the immediacy of thrash guitar, but this is all with a very strong coat of a thick death metal tone. The songs flow so well that perhaps with repeated listens the different elements may become more comprehensible. What the listener will feel is headbanging death metal of excellence.
Thornafire sounds like a very experienced band and have an air of talent and conviction in the execution of the material. The sound is both massively heavy and easy to hear what the band is playing. Here and there, blasting shows up, but mostly Thornafire is uptempo and fast, without employing the blasting constantly. Overall, the drumming is about hitting hard and carrying an intense, distinctive flow.
The personality of the vocal style comes through clearly. At certain moments it is close to the low growling, but overall it is of the more intense, slightly higher growling where there is an intensity or anger that shines through, meaning that enunciation is distinguishable, and it is not just one big blur of growling.
If you are very selective in death metal, Thornafire is a band that is worth your time. In fact, this album competes with the best death metal out there in 2012. They may not famous in the U.S., but fame and quality of music are not the same thing. Quality. Personality. Strong songwriting.
Vesperian Sorrow (U.S.): Stormwinds of Ages (The Path Less Traveled Records)
Call it “symphonic black metal,” but really the most important thing about this album is the band’s objective of creating high quality songs. The atmosphere of the songs revolves around black metal melodic guitar work, enhanced with background atmospheric keyboards. The music exudes complexity in a similar way that Emperor’s music does. It sounds like a lot is happening in the song, there are a lot of layers of things going on and you will hear all sorts of details after repeated listens.
This album is about an hour long; therefore, it is meant to be a total musical experience, in which you already know you will need to hear it lots of times because there is too much going, in a good way.
Personally, I appreciate the type of work that has gone into making such an album. The band is striving for excellence, for a musical adventure with different levels of experiencing the sounds.
Time will tell how well this album will stand up some ten years from now, but it sounds like Vesperian Sorrow has crafted their own masterwork. www.reverbnation.com/vesperiansorrow