This is what fans of Finnish melancholy have been waiting for anxiously - as this 5th STS album took more than 2 years to follow the "New Moon" release. And the question if STS have turned to other musical genres in the meantime - Reggae? Fun-Punk? - can be answered with a clear "No". There have been some changes, however...
The noise of falling rain, a fragile femalie voice, doomy speeches and sad tunes of the title track prepare you for the sinister sounds coming up in the following hour: Epic melodic Doom Metal, where Mikko growls as brutally as usual. He has been working on his voice, though, expanding the clean parts and also those Cradle-Dani-screeches. Besides those occasional Black Metal / Blast-Beat attacks, the music explores Pagan and Symphonic Metal elements (Hate, Lead The Way) and even weird Prog sounds in the style of Opeth (Silent Towers) - probably to make song structures less "predictable". Most of the songs are very short (for STS standards, "only" 4-6min), there are more acoustic parts and pretty untypical harmonic, even Pop-style vocals, evoking a kind of camp-fire spirit, where Mikko´s voice shows it´s vulnerable aspects - he is indeed getting better and better. Another bonus for STS is Aleah Stanbridge (Trees of Eternity) as guest singer on two tracks, the female voice on Cathedral Walls (+ video) belongs to Nightwish front woman Anette Olzon. The songs mentioned, April 14th (my fave) and Night Will Forgive Us might become future live evergreens, because of their ear candy qualities...
Well, whatś left to say? STS have developed their style - uniting beautiful-sad tunes combined with brutal riffs - further, including nice Deja-Vu moments (on purpose), e.g. this Laura Palmer-guitar and "Horror pt.4", which takes place in London this time. And there are the mentioned experiments with other genres, so that the sound (mixed by Hiili Hiilesmaa - HIM, Apocalyptica, Amorphis and Moonspell etc, mastered by Mika Jussila - Nightwish, Amorphis, Sentenced, etc) remains fresh and exciting. STS once again prove to be one of those reliable bands to deliver high quality, staying "true to their style" without sounding boring - in other words, you can just go and grab it!
1 Emerald Forest and the Black Bird 09:57
2 This cut is the deepest 05:21
3 Hate, lead the way 06:13
4 Cathedrall Walls 06:48
5 Hearts Wide Shut 05:55
6 Silent Towers 04:02
7 Labyrinth of London (Horror pt.4) 08:29
8 Of death and corruption 05:00
9 April 14th 08:29
10 Night will forgive us 06:41