posted on 10/2007 By:
Wintereich serves as my introduction to Finland’s Immortal Souls and is the band’s third full-length and second for Facedown Records. During my reading up on the band the tag of ‘winter metal’ kept cropping up, and while Immortal Souls do indeed create an effectively icy atmosphere, their sound owes quite a bit to the Swedish canon of the mid-to-late nineties. While hardly original, Wintereich has enough well-developed songwriting to make it a worthwhile and enjoyable listen. There’s just enough going on here to keep you hooked, from the melodic guitars and solid drumming, to the well-placed tempo changes and strong sense of groove throughout. In a nutshell, Immortal Souls have offered up a solid but not earth-shattering slab of melodic death/thrash so if that’s your bag, read on.
Musically, Immortal Souls impress. The guitar work achieves a satisfying balance between black metal riffing, chunky power chord-driven grooves and a big helping of melodic, succinct leads. The vocals are in a raspy, black metal styling for the most part and while they are injected with a reasonable amount of character and polish they are not outstanding. I found it a bit odd that right at the end of Wintereich, the last two songs “Black Water” and the title track suddenly incorporate clean singing. These melodic vocals are pulled off quite well, so it’s a shame they aren’t featured earlier as their late introduction is slightly jarring. The drumming for me is the standout quality of Immortal Souls musically, not due to any impressive technicality or innovation but in the tightness of their execution. The rhythms here are nicely varied but the transitions are smooth and to-the-point.
Standout tracks? There’s a few. Opening cut “Nightfrost” shows off the band at their peak in terms of speed and intensity, with a forceful gallop of a rhythm and rousing chorus. Both “Feareaper” and “Frozen Inside” open things up with some effective groove sections, while the incredible catchy and melodic "Constant" could almost work as a radio single. The production on Wintereich is perfectly serviceable, with everything sounding nicely balanced and a reasonable amount of polish on top. While I can’t imagine those into Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Children of Bodom, etc. giving this more than a cursory glance, Immortal Souls may well satisfy if you can’t get enough melodic death/thrash in your system. While hampered by a lack of originality, the songs on Wintereich are well-written and enjoyable, ultimately making for a solid but inessential listen.
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