Through the past year of 2017, we have seen a surge of extreme metal taking place, giving a foothold for bands and artists alike to express their talents and wares to the metal public.
Nosral Recordings have been very busy growing, giving a pedestal for these bands in the best metal fashion there is….. HARD & FAST!!! We have also seen an increase in solo artist projects, which was something not really seen in the metal community itself since the late ’80s and early ’90s, but it’s making a major comeback through metal circles of all genres.
Symphony Of Heaven are exactly that, blasting on the scene with their 2017 debut full length album The Season Of Death. Birthed by solo member Logan Thompson, the album was named as one of the Top 10 releases for 2017 which at a debut level, is completely unheard of and especially in the realms of the underground.
We are first hit with “Stratagem” intense and quick off the mark which perfectly blends into a slow melodic riff, mixed with soothing atmospheric keys that flow as water through the soul. Timings are extraordinary with the double kick but, keeps with the soulful flow that makes this track so intense and tranquil. The lead guitar and solo remind me of former Australian Industrial Metal band Screams Of Chaos, which creates the balance others most probably find it hard to master.
“War Into Wind” strikes next, with black metal shrill guitars and the pace you would expect, traditional late last century sounds with a cybernetic edge thrown in vocally. You do get hints of electronic drums involved within which tends to fit in with the song. I may be wrong completely but, it certainly is noticeable.
“Anno Domini” continues with the current theme and trend. Sounded very much like Vomoth back in the day. But, unlike Vomoth the band make use of harmonic keys to blend with the yesteryear sounds of extreme metal. Shredding guitars with a very well- constructed solo help the track to give it more substance through the ever-seeing eye.
“In Anger’s Midst” follows suit, with more of a slower approach, you can definitely notice the drum machine taking place here. It still creates the sounds needed by the band. I guess I’m still very old school in my thinking. Really good track, can’t take away from the effort in arrangements and sequences.
“The Meditation Of My Heart” is a mellow, acoustic song with an echoing blissful sound with the guitar. I do really like these kind of songs as it breaks up albums, especially one that is from an extreme natural progression and aggression.
“Of Scars And Soil” takes the reins with an atmospheric/folk driven edge which quite frankly it carries itself very well, notably more melodic than most tracks thus far. A nice balance of keyboards blends extraordinary well together with the buzzsaw effect, even the use of the march-for-war riff also adds the tools needed.
“Come And Rest” eases in with symphonic keys and is slow at pace with shrieks and growls, which really fits to the character of the melodies given. For sure, one of my favourite sounds of black metal. Then picks up to a real tempo, something you would hear in a Cradle Of Filth song in the Cruelty and The Beast era, and the breakdown thereafter showing the death metal side of the project, willing to give any means necessary to give the listener a full impact. An incredible track if I don’t say myself.
With every beginning there must be an end! “Time Transcending” finalizes this mixed bag album of extremities. Again, aiming for the more atmospheric sound with a dominant use of the keyboards, musically the chops and changes are definitely a trait for black metal bands, as this song is no exception.
My final words from this effort from Symphony Of Heaven: it is a solid release for a debutante solo project. Definitely holding to the old school ways of black metal, but to me that’s just what it is.
7/10 Christian Sullivan 2018