My Dying Bride

Live Music Review: Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

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Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

When: March 31, 2017
Where: Starlite Room

For the first time in Edmonton’s metal history, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun have graced one of our stages, and for the not-enough time Viathyn have done so as well. For those that do not know the bands, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun are both Finnish bands while Viathyn come from Calgary. Amorphis are a melodic death/hard rock amalgamation that was born in the death and doom scene. Swallow the Sun are a doom band with melodic tendencies. Viathyn are a progressive power metal band that have essentially come out of retirement for only two shows, which were the Edmonton and Calgary dates for this Amorphis tour.

The night got a bit of an early start and I think I missed the first song and some of the second, or just part of the first song from Viathyn. It was great to finally see this band live, as they are a band I’ve known and enjoyed since their first album The Peregrine Way. It’s been a very long time since the release of that album (2010), and it’s follow-up Cynosure (2014), so I honestly could not tell you what songs they played because it’s been so long since I’ve listened to those albums; probably 2015 was the last time I listened to them.

The energy this quartet brings to a stage is palpable, which is why it’s sad that they are still essentially on hiatus. The quality of the songs themselves is incredible, with tons of shredding solos and amazing vocals. They are definitely for fans of Opeth, Leprous, newer Arcturus, and, well, Amorphis.

Swallow the Sun were my personal favourite for the night, before the show, and stayed that way after. What can I say, they are a doom band after all! The dynamics of this band are unreal, taking you from the deepest darkness to the brightest lights, and back down again, filling you with so many emotions. Musically, vocally, everything about this band is emotive and perfectly doom. If you’re a fan of Novembers Doom, Novembre, My Dying Bride, or October Tide, and you haven’t checked out Swallow the Sun, you should do so as soon as you can.

Amorphis, oh Amorphis. This was a band not born from the death/doom scene from the 90’s, but one of the bands that gave birth to it! And they were going to be playing, for the first time, in Edmonton. I was really excited. But I was also worried. They have, after all, gone less of a doom direction on their newest albums, going for a more straight forward melodic death sound like Dark Tranquillity or mid-era In Flames. How would this iconic Finnish band play in a city they’ve never been in before? They did indeed play songs from their newer melodic death focused albums, and played them fucking amazingly; “Sacrifice” being one such example. The thing that kind of jarred me was that they seem to have rearranged their old and classic material, which was played sparingly, into sounding more like their modern releases. This is exactly what I was worried would happen, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed. I was hoping Amorphis would play a mixture of their catalogue, but without having to homogenize their old material to fit with their new material. I will say that this is the only sour note in my opinion. The performance that Amorphis gave was beyond excellent, and the Starlite Room carried their sound perfectly. I stood in several locations during the set to take photos, and everywhere I moved the band was perfectly balanced, from front to back, and the band themselves were playing their asses off to make sure that this was a night to remember for everyone involved. Now if only my photos had turned out.

In all, March 31, 2017 was an excellent night, the first night of an excellent weekend for me.

Swallow the Sun

Posted by Crown of Viserys on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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Music Review: Darkest Era – Severance

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Darkest Era - Severance

Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Cruz Del Sur

Ireland’s Darkest Era comes to me as a new thing, although they have been around since 2005 (as Nemesis, becoming Darkest Era in 2007). Severance very quickly became a bit of a hit with me through the lyric video for “Sorrow’s Boundless Realm”, an emotionally charged song that really resonated with me.

When given the chance to write this review, it honestly took awhile, and a lot of listens to the entire Severance album. Like “Sorrow’s Boundless Realm”, the whole album is full of strong emotion, mostly on the melancholy side of things, with traces of anger and frustration. This is conveyed not just in the lyrics and vocals, but in the music itself.

Executed by immaculate professionals, Severance is a musical tour de force, taking you from fist pumping to deep sadness within moments. They remind me of Iron Maiden, especially in the bass work of Daniel O’Toole, as well as newer Katatonia, Black Sabbath, fellow countrymen Primordial, and they occasionally delve into the doom worlds of My Dying Bride for brief stays. All of this is coated with a distinct folk metal feel, something that is not so much heard with your ears, but with your heart. Lyrically however, this is pure folk metal that only an Irishman could write.

Epic, heavy, and beautiful, Severance is a wonderful album to smoke in the rain to while drinking a neat whisky. If you’re a folk metal or dark metal fan, this is right up your alley. My favourite songs are “Boundless Realm of Sorrow”, “Scavanger”, and “Beyond the Grey Veil”, which at about the 4:30 mark goes into this sexy fast part that has a nice blackened/folk feel that really hearkens to Bathory.