Album Review

Heavy Metal Tribune

Japanese bands really have their charm, with the ability for most of them to attract me
to genres that I usually do not listen to, or even dislike. The Psalms of Forgotten Saga
is Japanese symphonic black metal band Ethereal Sin's latest EP, released late last year
yet receiving little attention. After encountering mostly average and over-hyped symphonic
black metal bands, it was hard to get me to listen to bands of that genre again, but
seeing the country of origin of Ethereal Sin, this was definitely worth at least a go at.

The Psalms of Forgotten Saga is a short, 20 minute and 4 track EP and the band wastes not
a single moment at all throughout the release to display their flair in the genre that
they specialise in, bringing in unique elements at the same time into the music.
The EP opens with the title track, an instrumental number, starting with a soothing melody
and gradually builds up the ambience, complete with epic sounding atmosphere brought about
by the folk-ish melodies brought forth by the keyboards, setting the mood right for the EP.

The moment the track ends, a furiously trem-picked riff marks the beginning of Comes at
the Stormy Night. Although up to this moment there is nothing particularly special about
Ethereal Sin's music, soon a haunting female vocals appears, and this vocals constantly
makes appearances throughout. The different growling styles also helps to make things
interesting.There is also the heavy usage of backing opera-styled vocals that help to
make the already heavy atmosphere even denser, and this is certainly a nice touch to the
music.The backing vocals also once again brings in the folk influences that are present
in the music.

Also, unlike many other symphonic black metal bands that focus too much on the "symphonic"
aspect and forgot about the black metal in the music, Ethereal Sin provides a perfect
balance of the different elements. For example, the keyboards here are not overused and
do not drown out the rest of the instruments, ensuring that the riffs of the guitars are
clearly audible. Also, unlike many symphonic black metal bands, there is a pretty thin
production quality of the album which makes for a slightly raw sound in the music,
further bringing out the authenticity of the band's music. The highlight on the EP is the
closing track, Solitude, Eternally..., beginning with an acoustic guitar and spoken vocals
(albeit in slightly broken English), bringing out the sadness in the music. It is this
track that best represents the style of Ethereal Sin, where each instrument complements
each other,bringing out the emotions in the music. The riffs are bleak and depressive,
and the torturous shrieks towards the end of the track are sure to raise the hair on the
backs of listeners.

One thing that could have helped to improve the album would be perhaps the inclusion of more
guitar solos. The guitarists have proven their capabilities through the riffs and few solos
that are present throughout the EP, and it is definitely a waste of the guitarists' talents
with the lack of inclusion of more prominent guitar spots on the EP. Also, on solos,rather
than focussing on the speed it could have sounded better if the guitarists have chosen
instead to focus more on the melody, such as on the first solo on Solitude, Eternally...

With The Psalms of Forgotten Saga, Ethereal Sin has proven how their 13 years of experience
playing symphonic metal has not gone to waste, despite the relatively few releases that
they have under their belts. Along with other symphonic black metal bands out of Japan
(such as Juno Bloodlust and Tyrant), they have shown how there is hope for the mostly
over-saturated market for symphonic-styled metal.

from Heavy Metal Tribune by ©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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