“The Inn of Sorrowing Souls” is the second album for Swedish speed metal band Breitenhold. This band is another project of Ced’s, and is somewhat of a little brother to his main group Rocka Rollas. That description comes from the fact that Breitenhold seems to generate less attention, despite being relatively similar in style and substance. This means “The Inn of Sorrowing Souls” is filled to the brim with awesome solos (even more than the latest Rocka Rollas album!) and really impressive harmonies. In fact, the harmonies and leads seem like a main focus of the album, as the title track comes crashing in with an incredible lead guitar section, and there is no shortage of spectacular playing throughout the rest of the song. Another thing that is great about this song is the sheer speed of it. Much like “Time Is Gone” before it, “The Inn of Sorrowing Souls” is a blazingly fast opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album. While the new Rocka Rollas album was more experimental in nature, Breitenhold is more about flashy guitar work and catchy songs than epic parts.
While the great guitar playing is the main focus of this record (alongside Ced’s wild, erratically awesome vocals), it does set in some fatigue. Looking just at Breitenhold and Rocka Rollas, this is the fourth record in 2 years that is mostly similar in style. There are some great songs here, but this album does feature slightly weaker songwriting than the other 3 recent albums. The core elements are all here, but because the songs sound so similar to one another, it can be difficult to separate one track from the next. There are exceptions; “Mirrors of Life” is a slower tune, and a great tribute to Blind Guardian. This is at first evident through the phrasing of some of Ced’s vocal lines, but later through the guitar melodies used, which would be at home on “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”.
Additionally, the 1-2 combo of “The Inn of Sorrowing Souls” and “Haunted Dreams” is pretty potent. The latter track follows suit of the former, as it is incredibly up-tempo and displays plenty of furious fretwork. Later on the record, “Halls of Steel” continues the excitement with a pounding anthemic first half, and a faster riff-infested section in the middle of the song. "Light The Fire" has one pretty cool part before the chorus, where the guitars are doing some palm-muting riffing between chords while the drums keep it simple with a rock and roll-styled beat, but the rest of the song is relatively standard. Aside from these songs, I find the rest of the album to be unmemorable, but enjoyable. If you aren’t burnt out on this style (and I certainly am not), it’s a definite buy, but be forewarned that it is among the weaker albums Ced has written over the last few years.
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"The Inn of Sorrowing Souls"
"Halls of Steel"
4.2/5 or 84%.
Written by Scott