Eternal Tears Of Sorrow – Saivon Lapsi
Eternal Tears Of Sorrow
Reviewed by Graham Henry
Saivon Lapsi is the seventh overall release from Finnish melodic death metal band, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. The band itself has undergone many changes in form since their 1997 debut album Sinner’s Serenade, evolving from a more thrash-oriented death metal sound into the heavily symphonic, melodeath approach that they put out now. Near the beginning of the last decade, the band took a several year hiatus, and since their return in 2006 have released only 3 albums; 2006’s Before The Bleeding Sun, 2009’s Children Of The Dark Waters, and 2013’s Saivon Lapsi. Each of these releases have evolved the band’s sound a bit, putting them where they are today.
Vocalist Altti is a competent head for a melodic death metal group. He is not very difficult to understand, and avoids the extended deep “cookie monster” growls. His vocals fit the style of music well – but while they certainly do not detract from the overall product, they’re not particularly distinctive either. They remain largely neutral, and blend nicely with the music without sending it to another level or making it truly unique. There are moments of clean vocals on most songs. Sometimes the clean vocals are even the leads, like during portions of “Dance Of December,” “Sound Of Silence,” and “Beneath The Frozen Leaves,” while other times it is relegated to providing support (usually during the choruses) for the harsh vocals. The male clean vocals are a good feature, and enhance the songs where they are present.
There are also some female vocals, most notably on “Sound Of Silence,” which is naturally the ballad of the album. The lead vocals alternate between male and female (there are no harsh vocals on this particular track), underneath a suitably symphonic backing instrumental. The female vocals are much like the harsh vocals – competent, but really add little to the overall picture. The one song where they are featured most heavily is a ballad, and I don’t like it. They could have been used more effectively on other tracks, or simply left off the album entirely.
Since Eternal Tears Of Sorrow puts such emphasis on the “symphonic” sound of their music, the keyboards naturally have a very important role. Much of the time, this is to add atmosphere to the existing structure, but at times it becomes a lead instrument. Notably on the song “Swan Saivo,” the keyboards downright shine, taking a solo near the middle of the song. The jarring chords played above the melody in that song are excellent. The keyboards also feature on “Beneath The Frozen Leaves,” and there is an extended instrumental section during the song that is one of the highlights of this album. The best use of keyboards however, is on “Legion Of Beast,” where the runs during the chorus are downright excellent.
Perhaps the most musically interesting part of this album are the guitars, which alternate quite well between melodic death-style chugging and power metal spitfire. The solos on songs like “Beneath The Frozen Leaves,” “Swan Saivo,” and “Dark Alliance” all show off the technical ability of the band’s lead guitarist, while the latter song also exemplifies the death metal stylings on this album. Sometimes however, the guitars get lost in the mix, which is quite disappointing (especially because any death metal – even melodeath, should be driven by the guitars).
Overall, Saivon Lapsi is a solid release by a band that has put out several good albums. If you are a melodeath fan, this is something you should definitely check out. If you aren’t, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow is offering nothing new.
3.25 // 5