I’m sorry to say it, but this is a long time coming from us and we can only sincerely apologize to the band for being so late with this review. Symphony Of Heaven are one of those, and I truly seriously mean it… One of those identities that since its birthing in 2017 by mastermind Logan Thompson (Pathos), has intrigued listeners, beginning with the sophomore single “Stratagem” and debut full length The Season Of Death, released through the now defunct extreme metal label Nosral Recordings. Quite frankly I’ve always been a fan of these guys, even when one of our writers Mason Beard decides to join the band on drumming duties.
I guess to back up my claims of fandom for Symphony Of Heaven is also due to their no-quit attitude and in the producing of whatever music and sound they please. I find their resolve to be very honest, upfront and direct with what they present to all of us as listeners, as they focus on the blackened death metal combination which has been a very keen interest of mine for quite a number of years (which all began upon hearing Dimmu Borgir for the first time with their studio album Spiritual Black Dimensions back in 1999.) Rottweiler Records had signed Symphony in January 2020, which followed with a new single “You Shall Be As Gods”.
The band consists of Logan “Pathos” Thompson – guitars/vocals, David “Timōrātus” Napier – bass, Eero Tertsunen – guitars and Mason “Asaph” Beard – drums. They released their EP The Ascension of Extinction, which featured the single mentioned above, and it created quite a stir for the extreme metal scene within the USA.
Fast-forward a year later past March 2020, after COVID19 struck the live music scene, when there wasn’t really much to do but either hone your craft or write new music. And too be honest, most of us had that time under lockdown to evaluate the futures that we were ready to face, no matter the outcome.
Produced and mastered by Blood Thirsty and Crowned In Sorrow artist Derek Corzine, we are going to expect some great sound and quality coming from this brand new album entitled “Maniacal Entropik Discordium”
Firstly as you look at the track list of the album, you realize that you have some lengthy songs to keep you entertained for quite a while. The album kicks off with “SoulRetch” which clocks in at almost 8 minutes. Melodic and slow-paced, which you wouldn’t expect from a starting track; however it picks up to the levels you would desire them to be, even if they are up to eleven. Not really brutal, but carries the development of melodic black metal, which happens to be the kind of black metal I really enjoy. Some elements of symphonic aspects are heard to end the track.
“Light Upon The Pillars” is next up. Certainly a little different to what you may think. Of course, you have the sound that the band have been working so hard to produce, still striving melodically, however there is a very nicely polished, refreshing acoustic interlude in the middle of the song that breaks it into three segments, which is done with precision.
“To Gaze Upon Destruction” vocally turns more into the death metal growling sound, rather than the black metal driven shouts that are found in the first two tracks. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of that particular vocal sound and for me, it’s not really complimenting the music. However, in saying this, I do like his blackened vocal abilities. Their single “Entropy” is next in line. Still hitting the Top 20 on the Loud charts, this track starts off with acoustic melody before it kicks you in the face with the fast and furious. I’m sure they aren’t trying to match the movie franchise, but you get the picture. Swinging back and forth with the acoustics adds a nice touch, as if you are a fan of melodic blackened death metal, then it’s been known to happen.
“Dead Winter Fields” surprises me with some clear vocals that, I honestly can’t remember if they have done this way before. My bad if they have and I can’t recall. Gives you a calm feeling as the song progresses. Not much brutality here and there is nothing wrong with that. In aiming for more extreme metal than brutal, it just makes absolute sense.
“The Darkest Nights” carries through its own way of expression in the musical aspect. A good use of symphonic keys are displayed as they continue on their merry way, and with more black metal than the other songs thus far. Certainly a more enjoyable track for me. “The Grieving” process (or shouldn’t I describe it like that?) enters into another tranquil domain that lasts for a couple minutes, before it shreds throughout the life expectancy of the track.
“The Arch Of Time” comes into the picture, which you may recognize as the title track of their previous EP of the same name. You are correct in assuming that the former EP was to give you the reader/listener a taste of what this new record is all about.
As we continue on with “Verge Of Annihilation” it gives you a sensation of old school black metal. as with the early days of symphonic black metal it’s both clean and extreme. That level is consistently displayed throughout the course of the track. “Obtaining Tranquility” continues along the same sort of path that the album has kept on so far, and also more clean mixed vocals are used at the back end of the song.
As we head towards the end of Maniacal Entropik Discordium, the track “Amid The Righteous Oaks” is an instrumental that added some flavor, which I enjoyed immensely. “Flesh and The Power It Holds” sees out this 12 track full-length. Definitely aimed at the authentic side of old school death metal, but yet still retaining a progressive side, that appears ever so often.
My overall view on this album is that I really enjoyed certain songs off the album, though I wasn’t a huge fan of their sound as a whole. It didn’t have that memorable engagement that would entice me to play over and over and over again. I’m getting that feeling that I won’t be picking up this album very often.
All I have is love for these boys, as I mentioned before, I have followed them since the Nosral Recordings days. This is their first full-length as a full outfit, which is seriously cool and a huge congratulations. I do feel that the band will continually move forward and with Jairus Pascale as their label owner, I’m sure that we can expect great things.
Christian Sullivan – 5/10.
The Metal Onslaught Magazine