It has been a couple of years since the last Vesperia release, but the Canadian band has been quite busy since then. In addition to playing plenty of dates across Canada, they were also recently crowned the Canadian Wacken Metal Battle champions, earning them the right to play at Wacken Open Air in Germany (an honour which lead vocalist/bassist Morgan Rider has already experienced when he played with Crimson Shadows). The band’s newest release, “The Iron Tempests”, shows their familiar sound taken in a slightly different, more serious direction.
In the past, it would have been fair to characterize Vesperia as a folky melodic death metal band. It appears that over time, the band has gradually dropped the overt folk elements in favour of more subtle keyboard or piano lines and orchestrations. In addition, while there is still plenty of melody on this EP, Vesperia is at times sounding much more like a traditional death metal band. The riffs are incredibly fast, heavy, and crunchy. None of them might be as catchy as “The Swordsman”, from their last album, but they’re certainly a lot more intense. Likewise, Morgan’s vocals are deeper than ever, and the band’s rhythm section is playing with lots of aggression (including blast beats).
“The Iron Tempests” offers up two original tracks, as well as a death metal version of “In The Hall of the Mountain King”. Both of the two original compositions are so exceptional that it would be unfair to say that one stands out above the other, but it is worth pointing out that the soloing in “Iron Saga” is absolutely insane. This is another area where the band has stepped things up another notch; their guitar playing is better than ever. In fact, the band could actually benefit from even more soloing, as what is presented here is incredibly well executed. The cover song is in line with the other two tracks in terms of quality, and is an interesting take on a classic. Personally, I prefer Savatage’s version (a band they will soon be sharing the stage with!), but Vesperia’s is quite potent.
On the whole, “The Iron Tempests” is a release that’s only flaw is that it’s too short. Vesperia’s music has evolved significantly over the last two years, despite still being true to the band’s earlier sound. This release is essential for all fans of death metal, melodeath, or even folk metal, despite the fact that the sound cannot be described as just one of those things.
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All of it
4.6/5 or 92%.
Written by Scott