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Cold, Fast and Deadly - 70%

zhay777, December 16th, 2011

Immortal Souls is a melodic death metal band from Finland. This country is well-known for its amazing melodic death metal bands such as Children of Bodom, Kalmah, Norther, etc., but Immortal Souls are playing quite different music than these bands. They know how to make melodic sounds along with brutal and groove riffs. I haven't met other band like this yet.

This album has a strong spirit. It contains fast, strong riffs on the first string that are played on two guitars. There are some moments when both of them play the same melody on different strings. To say it better, they double it. Main themes are dark, groove, and some very, very, very little influence from power metal. Here are also riffs that are played on first and fifth strings (same melody, of course). Solos are played on the sixth string. They are fast and perfectly fit in with the main theme.

The drumming is based on double bass. The drum rhythm is two to one, but is done very quickly along with the guitars. Bass in almost always in the mix, but in some songs, for example, 'Sacrifice', begins with a bass intro and has a little pre-solo that's played on bass. Also, we can see great bass skills in Aki 's work. Unfortunately, I don't understand bass much, so I can't talk much about it.

The vocals are mainly black metal rasps and mainly in the middle pitch. In the songs 'You' and 'Man Of Sorrow', we can hear some clean vocals in the first scale. The most remarkable song is 'Painbearer'. This song has the sickest riff. Also we must pay attention that band works without keyboards while other bands would be nothing without them. What could be done with keyboards are done by guitars, particularly on the last string.

This album has nothing to do with other albums by other bands, for example, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility, etc. This is ten times better, but I would strongly recommend to not listen to this album if you don't like melodic death metal or are going to familiarize yourself with this genre. If you are melodic death metal fan, however, you MUST listened to it!

True northern comfort - 75%

Ecliptik, June 11th, 2010

Maybe it’s because this was one of the first legitimate melodic death albums I’ve ever heard, but this album still holds some relevance and importance in my eyes as far as how the genre of melodic death metal has progressed. Mainly due to the fact that solid melody is achieved without sacrificing too much aggressiveness, I find it to be quite a shame that in the plethora of melodic death acts that emerged when the genre was experiencing enormous popularity (acts that received WAY too much recognition, mind you…), that Immortal Soul’s ‘Ice Upon the Night’ got overlooked the way it did.

Like I mentioned, this album is melodic in all the right ways. It succeeds in ways that most bands of the same genre fail. Their most prominent triumph over the increasingly unlistenable death metal variant is the fact that they do not drown their music in keyboards and synth while simultaneously hiding nu-metal worshipping guitars in the distant, desolate background (see: Reroute to Remain). In fact, the guitars don’t even sound like anything traditionally found in death metal, in that they are kept uncharacteristically highly tuned, and by doing this they are able to stave off whatever keyboards might have otherwise been used to cover up any lack of songwriting capability. The rhythm guitar supports the lead extraordinarily well; complimenting Esa’s supersonic, piercing tone with tasteful and all non-too-subtle melodic harmonies (Suicidalive = best example of this). The bass throws in some excellent and catchy hooks in just the right places and does a good job of not falling into the background, while the drums are also notably impressive throughout (‘Welcome to North’ encompasses both highlights beautifully).

But honestly, I really don’t understand why this is even considered melodic death. It sounds much more like some sort of power meets black creation than anything else: power because of its undeniable bounciness (listen to the first 3 seconds of the damn album). Seriously, it’s so happy and uplifting that you kinda forget you’re listening to death metal. And sure, there are its moments of undeniably cold-steel riffs (halfway through ‘Cold Street’ should do it for ya’), but they are really so few and far between that any memory of such riff is quickly blotted out of mind by a tidal wave of jolly fun time all-is-right-with-the-world goodness. Now I also mentioned black, and for one reason: VOCALS. I could hear the lead singer in some sort of Forgotten Tomb cover band so easily I’ve got half a mind to go out looking for said band. Point being, it sounds shrill and possessed and completely uncharacteristic of any death metal I’ve ever heard. Honestly, reclassification of this band should really be considered…

Now the major downfall of this album is actually in what makes it so characteristic in the first place. While the songwriting is undeniably strong in some points, it is also genuinely mediocre in others. ‘Edge of the Frost’ and ‘Painbearer’ sound like they were written in about 2.3 minutes respectively and completely lack any if not all of the soul that can be found anywhere else throughout this CD. They both kind of just move along without any direction, the guitars doing one thing and the vocals doing another, with no regard as to whether or not they are even complimenting each other as they should be. Maybe they just needed a couple filler tracks, I don’t know. All I do know is that this album would have been a lot more enjoyable with seven songs instead of nine, and maybe a little extra attention to some of the more acceptable, but still underwhelming pieces (Hey ‘Sacrifice’ and your incredibly safe bass-line intro, I’m looking at you!)

But overall, this is a solid piece of what I wish melodic death metal would’ve turned out to be. This album has stuck with me since I first started getting into metal, staying around through all my fads and phases. If more melodic death bands had released albums like ‘Ice Upon the Night’, I would have probably turned out to be a much bigger fan of a genre that I’ve grown to be completely indifferent about.

Onward To The Recycle Bin! (Part II) - 71%

OzzyApu, September 10th, 2009

This is extremely heavy / power oriented melodic death. The vocals may be mutilated, raspy growls, but the music is uplifting and the leads are some of the best I’ve heard in the genre. With “best” we’re not talking the most intricately crafted or technical, but damn catchy and thoughtful enough to continue onward. Some songs don’t have them (“Painbearer”), and some do (“Welcome To North”) – all of the are positive with an uplifting message (these guys really like Christ), even if its just about how cool winter is cool. With this positive and chilly atmosphere, the music itself is actually, in itself, pretty laid back and cool. It’s not slow laid back, but like “chill out and here this awesome lead” kind of laid back.

Production = spotless. Very clear but not definitively polished like most modern music. Since there isn’t any lapse in the sound quality, the band can focus on charging with everything they got. Thus, the songs all sound like their in a rush – not rushed, but in a rush – like they’re soaring. Their next album, Wintereich, really dropped the bomb on this Maiden-ized sound, but here its untainted and borrows heavily from numerous other power metal bands: harmonies up the ass.

The focus is ripe and the band clearly has a few leads to impress the listener. With such cold sounding music runs a risk of thinness, but here it isn’t an issue. Bass allows for the gaps to be filled (presenting quite a grumble) while the rhythm does a good enough job at finding a pace and drilling at it. In this way the music sounds mildly aggressive for melodic death while still being able to capitalize with their power metal tendencies – something a band like Children Of Bodom really forgot how to do. Aside from the aforementioned screamish growls, there’s a clean singing guest vocalist for the songs “You” and “Man Of Sorrow.” Personally, I find them very shallow and lifeless; they don’t really have any character to them and would fit more in an adult contemporary outfit. Let the leads (particularly in the latter track) carry the song rather than stooping down to some dull singer.

This album is easily my favorite by the band, but like many in my library, they’re beginning to show their lasting value. My library is getting larger, but every winter the snow keeps falling, burying this band back into the forest from which I discovered them. Back then I lent an ear, but now my ear moves on. Immortal Souls, I was glad to have you along for the show…

Melodic Death done right - 95%

Necrophagist56, October 3rd, 2006

In today's world there are lots and lots of bands playing Melodic Death and lots more trying to re-create that famous Gothenburg sound. But most of them do not do a very good job at it... Immortal Souls is not one of those bands.

'Ice Upon The Night' is a very solid album with each song having great guitar leads and the song seems to be usually based around the lead guitar... The first song opens with a fast riff and some nice sweeping lead guitar work that definitely set's the mood for the whole album. The only song that loses speed and loses the aggressive touch the rest of the songs have would be the last song 'Man Of Sorrow'. But don't worry, that song is just as good as the others; it just has a different feeling behind it then the rest. Also, 'Man Of Sorrow' and the song 'You' feature the only clean vocals on the album which is done by a man named Kimmo Pulkinen. That man has a very good set of pipes; it is not whiny sounding at all... Just good clean singing.

The production is very good on 'Ice Upon The Night' as well. Personally I think that the mix/production of an album makes a really big difference on how I see the album. The only weakness production wise is the vocals... They sound a tad bit muffled; like the highs were removed from mix.

Immortal Souls has nailed what Melodic Death should sound like: lots of Melodic Leads mixed in with fast aggressive song writing. Definitely look into this piece of work if you are into authentic Melodic Death.