The Extinction Prophecies
Released: 2011, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Boston’s Sorrowseed are an 8-piece gothic ensemble, recalling the sweeping theatrics of Therion, Tristania, Amorphis, and a healthy shot of Dusk-era Cradle of Filth. Their full length debut, THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES is a whopping 2-disc set of grandiose tunes that aims high to capture the best elements of these influences, while putting their own mark on the sound. THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES isn’t without its flaws, but overall it’s an impressive and well crafted debut.
The two discs on THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES have distinctly different personalities, but carry similar themes and synergies. The first disc (tracks 1-10) have a more accessible blackened goth approach, but it’s good stuff regardless. Sorrowseed’s hallmark sound comes from the dual vocal delivery of Lilith Astaroth and Casey Jones, A.K.A., “the Reaping Willow” and “The Scarab Prophet.” Together they convey a very Dani Filth-styled hi/low scowl. But the vocal dexterity between them makes this style much more palatable than I’ve found Mr. Filth’s to be. That being said though, moments like the “Fire to the Furnace” are nothing if not gorgeous, featuring a clean female lead vocal on top of sweeping piano driven soundscapes. But as front and center as the twin vocals are, the accompanying musical backdrop is even more impressive. The performances themselves aren’t necessarily super complex, but the arrangements between the guitars, keyboard/piano, and various atmospherics are pretty vast and are executed seamlessly. Each instrument/sound/vocal complements the other effectively and efficiently, and the album avoids sounding bloated or self aggrandizing. Tracks like “Cancer of Blades” and “Demeter’s Reckoning” could have easily gone off the rails, but Sorrowseed keeps all of the moving parts in sync for a genuinely epic sound.
The second disc (tracks 11-20) takes a distinctly different tone. A much darker, heavier collection of tunes, it acts in stark contrast to the preceding set. The vocals are thick and guttural, the arrangements and tunings take a more malevolent tone. It’s an all together meaner set of tunes, but it shows that the band isn’t a one-trick pony. Those who find the first disc a little too touchy-feely may find the second to be more up their ally. “Eldritch Hunger,” “War to Feed the Ancients” and “Circle of False Gods” all have some welcomed fire in the belly and stand out among the collection.
The biggest detraction with THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES is that there’s a lot of material to process. At an almost 90-minute run time, you certainly get your money’s worth, but it’s still a lot to digest. There’s a lot of intermission styled segways peppered throughout the disc and some of the tracks tend to blur at points, and I can’t help but think that some well placed edits would’ve made the pace of the album much more bearable. But that being what it is, THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES is still an excellent collection of gothic metal. The songs are well crafted, well executed, and the production and packaging are both top notch. There’s a ton of bands in the underground exploring this style of metal right now, but few hit the mark they way Sorrowseed has. Check out the band’s website for info on how to purchase THE EXTINCTION PROPHECIES.