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It’s been four years since Children Of The Dark Waters, but longer in terms of a full-length that was really good. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow take their time between releases now, and in theory that should help clean their songs of clutter. Makes sense, but if the songwriting becomes too far gone, then all hope is lost. Saivon Lapsi thankfully is the band returning to their senses in terms of ripe compositions that capture the same vastness of Before The Bleeding Sun while maintaining its own prestige. There’s charisma to this that got lost on the previous release, but even with that returning here, four years is quite a long wait just to get back on track.
Ringleader Altti Veteläinen and his symphonic circus return with power. The guitars are crunchy, bass is hefty, riffing is tighter, nifty harmonies are plentiful, and symphonic / clean elements are better applied. Separating the instrumentals is a strange move that I don’t think helps the songs they intro in a transitional sense, but they’re fine as build-ups. For flow there’s not one point where there’s any major dip in quality. Some songs are a little less impressive like “Beneath The Frozen Leaves,” but overall it’s a solid effort from a band giving their symphonic brand of melodic death. It’s like Kalmah but with less showmanship and more in terms of melancholic atmosphere and melodies. “Legion Of Beast” reminds me of Insomnium in terms of the stylish leads as the driving force. Lastly, epics like “Dance Of December” and the continuation of the “Angelheart, Ravenheart” saga are reflective songs with more scope to them than directness.
One big complaint I had with the last album was the lack of appropriate clean transitions and hooks. They felt too forced and / or contrived to be of any help in amplifying a song’s feeling. That’s (mostly) not an issue here, with songs like “The Day” and “Swan Saivo” making great use of clean vocals (male and female), Altti’s hoarse screams, and key / guitar leads bleeding out some melodramatic hook. I still don’t consider Jarmo Kylmänen, with his accented, nimble singing to be that good of a clean vocalist. Altti’s venomous screams worked better alongside a projected, proud lead like it did back in the band’s greatest era. The crisp, spotless production suits either, but the preference remains the same.
This isn’t the album I was hoping for after four years (or eight since the last good one), but it’s something I’d definitely like to keep. Everything from the aggressive drums to Tolsa’s euphonious keys are ear candy. There’s lots of heavy / power metal influence like Kalmah, but in a more atmospheric way like Stratovarius, too. Add that to the symphonic melodic death angle Altti’s been going with since the reformation, and that’s the gist of the band’s formula. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow was a formidable force on Chaotic Beauty and A Virgin And A Whore, and while I might backflip if I heard another one of those from these guys again, I know I’ll take what I can get.