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Old Season - Archaic Creation (CD)

Old Season
Archaic Creation
by Mike Novak at 02 November 2009, 9:19 AM

The term originality is one that has been bastardized in Metal over the years to the point where even the slightest deviance from the norm will end up being described with that phrase. It has gotten to the point where the term originality has been used in describing trendy hipster bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and WINDS OF PLAGUE. Ugh. Using that word to describe these bands is like using the same word to describe 80s KISS. That's not to say that all modern Metal is garbage, mind you, but nothing has really been mind-blowing in the sense that I'm sure MERCYFUL FATE's Melissa was back when that was released. On the other hand, we have bands that use that term as a way to justify how awful their music is (see some of the negative reviews that I've written over the past couple of months). What they claim is originality is just poor songwriting and performing. It's always refreshing when a band actually is unique and innovative without needing to play up originality as a selling point; in this case being the band OLD SEASON with Archaic Creation.

OLD SEASON was formed in 2003 in Ireland. This is the band's second album. You might recognize their lead singer, Frank Brennan, as the clean vocalist in MOURNING BELOVETH.

Putting a tag on the music contained in Archaic Creation is difficult and ultimately proves useless, since this band does not copy the sound of one of the genre's forbearers. I could tell that this band was from Ireland even before I read the band's bio, but don't expect another folk/celtic Metal band here; the influences are much more subtle and perhaps sub-conscious. There is a bit of an epic feel to the music and some atmospheric moments, but once again, nothing blatant enough to classify the album as such.

One might think, based off of the logo, that this band is another Black Metal project, but there are no growls to be found here. One of the best things about this album are the vocals of Frank Brennan, who steals the show with his off-kilter harmonies and powerful melodies. The songs themselves are complex without relying too much on weird time-signatures that other bands use as a gimmick. The solos that show up provide an excellent addition to their respective songs; I almost wish that the lead guitars had a stronger presence on this album, maybe this will change on their next album?

Many of the songs are able to stand alone and make a strong statement while leaving a lasting impression. Opener Meet Me On The Battlefield is what I would recommend to someone that has never heard the band before; Brennan is in top form and this song serves as a proclamation for the band as a whole. I cannot think of a single song that is filler; the material is universally strong. Personal favorites include the aforementioned Meet Me On The Battlefield, the brooding Bitter Is The Wind and the towering A Soldier's Song. Make sure to read the lyrics when listening to this album to experience the full effect and perhaps provide insight into the mood of the song.

Even though this will most likely not make my top 5 end-of-the-year list, this is a release of exceptional quality. Be forewarned, this is no musical fast food, it will take more than several listens to fully appreciate. I am very glad that I have heard this album and if you desire something different from the norm, definitely give OLD SEASON a try. I can't wait to hear what they come up with next; this band deserves to be heard.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Meet Me On The Battlefield      
Forever Damned   
The Mission      
Prowler      
Bitter Is The Wind      
At the Hollow   
The Heathens' Dance      
A Soldier's Song
Lineup:
Frank Brennan - Vocals
Ciaran Doyle - Rhythm & Lead Guitar
Jim Blanchfield - Rhythm & Lead Guitar
Dave Copley - Bass
Dermod Smyth - Keys, Piano
Anto Walsh - Drums
Record Label: Private Release
     


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