It is truly not a lie at all that I have been anticipating this release since the group posted the single “Illuminated” from the album but as of today, Illuminated is finally out for the world to behold and by god, this album is a masterpiece and that is an understatement. For those who do not know, Vintersea is a female fronted progressive/melodic death metal band from Portland, Oregon. Two years since their debut album The Gravity of Fall, Illuminated is the band’s M-Theory Audio release debut.
Through this album, you can tell Vintersea have found their own diverse sound as each track is something new and refreshing instead of just being an album that blurs together like one long track. Each track tells a story and has feelings and emotions behind them which drives each individual moment of the album. From Avienne’s soft, celestial voice that sends chills down the spine and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up to the harsh vocals that hit like a wrecking ball to the epic guitar work of both Jorma Spaziano and Riley Nix along with the technical timing of drummer Jeremy Spencer and the bass work of Karl Whinnery, there is not a beat missed by this group.
Tracks like Old Ones and Befallen give off vibes of older style melodic death metal in vain of Eternal Tear of Sorrow meets progressive epicness like Ne Obliviscaris. Self titled track Illuminated and Crack of Light give a haunting, melodic emotion as these are where Vintersea shows that they can have equal amounts of melodic progressiveness along with heavy blackened melo-death tones all beautifully blended at all the right moments. A huge plus to this album is them knowing when to place each transition whether it is a soft and melodic part then just…BOOM…heavy and epic fast riffage and otherworldly growls and screams. The solos also are a big bonus as they are not overly done but placed perfectly to show the amazing musicianship between the dueling guitarists.
So if it is not obvious by now, I love this album from front to back. This is the kind of album we need to see more of in metal. There is literally something for everyone on Illuminated whether it is the melodic parts or the heavy parts, I’m sure all metal fans will appreciate this to it’s full extent. I’m not saying EVERYONE will find this as a masterpiece but I will say so far, this is possibly my favorite release so far this year. If you are a fan of catchy melodies, haunting vocals that can go from zero to a hundred real quick and just virtuoso musicianship, then grab this album.
Overall Score: 10/10
Review by Neil Andersen