The second of the bands I've nominated for this month's “The Metal Observer” "Unsigned Band of the Month" are a step up from FALLEN. FALLEN are the band with limitless potential who could and should make a name for themselves by building upon what they have and creating something earth shattering. OLD SEASON however are the band who already have created something earth shattering and if there is any justice in the world this release will catapult them to global success (well in Metal terms at least) and critical acclaim.
In terms of style OLD SEASON draw on some wide ranging influences, with elements of MANOWAR, TIAMAT and CANDLEMASS, for example, being heard by this reviewer. The package as a whole, however, is something quite unique to OLD SEASON themselves, as they've crafted a melancholic and melodic form of Doom that can be emotionally draining and incredibly epic yet, in a split second, can change to something more earthy and rousing. Elements of Doom and traditional Heavy Metal genres placed into melodic ballad format, all blended together to create a new entity that promises to take the Metal world by storm.
My only previous experience with OLD SEASON was in the live arena which is truly where they belong. Frank Brennan (of MOURNING BELOVETH fame) has a voice that is capable of stopping time and making you forget just where you are and what you're doing and leaving you totally captivated by the sheer emotive majesty of his pipes. Furthermore, the keyboards are often a little on the loud side live which, although can be distracting, allowed the full nature of their genius to shine through. Each melody is simply perfect.
On CD however, I've finally gotten to hear and appreciate the individual efforts of the band members in their crafting and delivery of some of the most compelling pieces you're likely to hear labelled "Heavy Metal." Opener "And Sands She Turned For Time" is among the best ballad tracks I've heard in my entire life. Frank's voice really twists the old heart strings and the epic nature of the keyboards really adds to the deeply melancholic mood.
Variation is shown in the next track, the live favourite, "Mortals Of Mettle" with its strong leanings towards Heavy Metal mastery in the vein of MANOWAR. The rousing "Whoh oh oh oh" sections and pulsing riffage really makes this an undeniable Heavy Metal classic and, in all honesty, it is probably my favourite track on the release. It’s just too damn infectious. The slightly more light-hearted and catchy nature of this track is explored again in "The Claw" which also introduces some Celtic overtones.
"A Divine Plague" is another fantastic ballad that has one of the most compelling vocal sections that I've ever heard (particularly live). When "The Sky Burns" slowly approaching the two minute mark of the song it has a truly beautiful vocal and melody. The general nature of the song is very like "A Divine Plague" before it, but more Metal and less ballad. There is however a nice little piano piece in the midst of the track and a return a really mournful melody to close.
The closing track, which re-introduces the Celtic element with the opening riff, is another superbly strong Heavy Metal masterpiece. "A Dwindling Seed" showcases all of what OLD SEASON is about, namely music that is full of epic melodies, exquisite harmonies, sublime riffage and an amazing voice. All of which is wrapped up in moody atmospheres which possess more light-hearted overtones. Simply put, "Volume 1" is a masterpiece and if it’s an indication of future things to come then I can't wait for Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and however many others they decide to release. (Online July 1, 2005)