Winter’s Verge – Beyond Vengeance
As I said in my review of the recent Elmsfire release, I’m not a one trick pony when it comes to metal, meaning though I normally review metal of the female-fronted variety, I am always more than happy and open to discovering male-fronted metal – with clean vocals, that is. I came across Winter’s Verge recently when a promo of their April 27 release, Beyond Vengeance, appeared in my inbox.
Released by Massacre Records, Beyond Vengeance is the fourth full-length album from this group of Cypriots. Formed in 2004 by vocalist George Charalambous, Winter’s Verge (is there winter in Cyprus? Because I’m pretty sure Canadians like me would love to winter there once January rolls around!), plays melodic power metal with both symphonic and progressive elements. Comparisons to Sonata Arctica are not out of place; I can detect the similarities. And after I had listened to this CD once, I found it also reminded me of another Finnish band, though a slightly less well-known one, Celesty (editor’s note: maybe a better comparison would be a lighter, more varied Mystic Prophecy) .
Accompanied by lots of double bass drumming, crunchy riffing, and some cool synth work performed by Stefanos Psillides, Beyond Vengeance‘s mostly fast-paced songs tell of the ache and darkness of the human experience. The opener, “Cunning Lullabies”, is actually about nightmares. The intro sets the atmospheric tone of the album, helped out by some ominous organ-like melodies and a whisper saying, “from the shadows they appear, turning my dreams into nightmares.”
The exploration of dark themes threads this album together, and indeed, we hear some very uncomfortable stuff. The catchy, anthemic “Not Without a Fight” makes reference to, I believe, war and torture, but is a positive song about staying strong and not, as the title indicates, going down without a fight. It’s got a video, too (see below), which tells the story visually and lends the piece extra meaning and power. As I said, the song is catchy, and it has a great chorus:
Take my life, take it all
But you’ll never take my soul
No more pain, it’s my right
I won’t go down without a fight
This is one of the strongest songs on the album.
Another stand-out was the quieter, very emotional ballad “One Last Night” which tells the story of a man who, after an evening of arguing with his lover, gets a call the next morning to tell him that she died in a car accident. It’s a sad song that tells of the feelings of guilt one left behind after such a tragedy must certainly feel.
“Semeni” is another song I loved on Beyond Vengeance. The most progressive and complex piece on the CD, this is the story of the ship Semeni that sank in deep ocean waters a hundred years ago. I love how this starts off with a soft acoustic feel and then builds upon itself with kick-ass double bass drums, killer guitar work, and a bit of choir in the background. This is the most exciting song on the album without a doubt and the word “epic” is definitely an appropriate descriptor.
Dark but emotional and powerful, Winter’s Verge has a fantastic thing going with Beyond Vengeance. I have only heard one of their older songs, but I’m going to make a point of checking out their previous albums after enjoying this one so much.
Allyson’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5