Released: 2001, Independent
Hailing from Austin Texas, USA is a five piece black metal outfit who prove that the heat of the south can spawn metal as black as that from the frozen northlands of Norway. With their second album, PSYCHOTIC SCULPTURE, Vesperian Sorrow has the potential to attain the status of one of the best black metal bands from the USA.
I saw this band live a few months back and the biggest thing that they impressed upon me was the guitar playing, especially with the lead guitars. The vocals came off as pure evil, but somewhat one-dimensional. Now that I have their album I have the opportunity to compare the band’s live performance to the recording. Well my opinion remains unchanged. The lead guitar playing is excellent as are most of the rhythms, which are sometimes a bit overdone on the tremelo picking. The vocals are almost all screechy except for parts where they are spoken in the “Satan” voice. Where there are keyboards they are mixed loud in the mix. They don’t tinker along throughout the entire song t overpower the music though. The album begins with “Solitude” which has a long instrumental section with some interesting melody lines and a couple of solos. Since I am not “Mr. Black Metal” there are only a few bands I can draw comparisons to. Some of the music reminded me of Cradle of Filth and some of it reminded me of Dimmu Borgir (without the thrash like rhythms). I know the black metal elitists out there consider neither of these bands “true” black metal, so you might not consider this “true” black metal either. I’m not hung up on the trueness of either band, so suffice it is to say Vesperian Sorrow fall into the black metal category in my opinion. That means it has vicious vocals (like Dimmu), lots of melodic tremelo picked rhythms, fast drumming with the occasional blast beat and keyboards for the “creepy” atmosphere. The title track, “Psychotic Sculpture” is an angry and intense song that grabbed me at first listen. The follow up, “Spiral Symphony” begins with some cool violins then in comes some down tuned riffs…very nice leads in here too. The leads are very melodic and have things like arpeggio sweeps and other cool stuff! They should let the leads shine through even more!! Some cool vocal effects on the beginning of “Nebula Design” make the vocals sound otherworldly. I like the speedy riffing in “Arena Unorthodox” because it’s not ALL tremelo picked. Parts of it are, but the fast sections that are actually played with rhythm are what caught my ear. The solo in this track section sounds very cool with a progressive backing rhythm. This part of the song should have been expanded upon!!! “Odyssium” closes off the album and it is a completely different song for the band with clean female vocals, keyboards and drums. No screaming or billion miles per hour riffing here.
The only problem I have with this album is that after hearing 4-5 songs it starts sounding all very much the same. I know that’s partially because I don’t listen to a steady diet of this style of metal. The very fact that I do like this band means something because usually I am not into many of these bands. I think some added diversity would make Verperian Sorrow even better….more variations on the rhythm playing with different tempos and styles along with more varied vocals would help hold my interest for a full album.
If you live for this brand of black metal, chances are you’ll love Verperian Sorrow exactly the way they are. This album is scheduled for release very soon by Displeased Records. Once it is out, I bet you’ll be hearing some very good things about this band!
Official website: http://www.vesperiansorrow.net