This month, I have three metal EPs with the exact same rating to share with you. I like them all equally, but they are each rather different from the others. I love the range that metal has as a genre. Take a look.
You may remember Sojourner from my review of their latest album Premonitions, aka, the album with the giant owl on it. The band is a collaboration around the globe, but is centered in New Zealand. They’ve recently had some lineup changes, and here they are with a mini-EP, called Perennial, to give us a dose of that new sound. The current lineup is Emilio Crespo on vocals, Lucia Amelia Emmanueli on vocals, Mike Lamb on guitars, keys, and tin whistle, Tom O’Dell on guitar and backing vocals, Scotty Lodge on bass, and Riccardo Floridia on drums.
The band plays an atmospheric black metal with plenty of melody, folk accents, and progressive leanings. You’ll hear dueling vocals, both harsh and clean, though this EP features the band’s first attempt at clean male vox, as far as I’m aware. Their overall sound is quite beautiful, thoughtful, and heavy.
Yes, EPs are mini-albums, essentially, but this new EP only has two songs, so calling it a full EP would be a little odd. For what it’s worth, Perennial is excellent. The title track opener starts out fast and hefty, but soon spirals into a gorgeous groove and excellent vocals from newcomer Lucia. It is a chaotic track, one that takes a few listens to appreciate. I actually like the second track more, called “Relics of the Natural Realm”. It feels like a hushed whisper, brimming with folk melodies and excellent vocals. The melody here is simply exquisite, and the way the song builds to climax is memorable. Overall, Perennial is a short but sweet offering, but one that makes me look forward to the band’s next record.
Next, we have Roman Soto from Los Angeles, CA. I have to admit that his new EP Chaos Theory pleasantly surprised me. I was not expecting something so grand, calculating, and high quality.
Roman writes music that mixes epic orchestral soundtracks with progressive metal. It isn’t a brand new sound or anything like that, but it does have meat, bombast, and explosive ideas on its side, not to mention lots of cello, Roman’s instrument of choice. The music here is powerful and striking with fantastic transitions and a perfect balance of the various genres in play.
All five tracks on Chaos Theory are wonderful, hefty, and carefully constructed. My favorites are “Monolith” for its pure energy, “The Forerunners” for its celestial, Halo-inspired sound, and “The Outer Realms” for its conclusive and complex nature, and also for it being the only track with vocals. This is an EP that you will want to visit often, and it is over in a flash, which honestly makes me crave it even more. I’m excited to see what Roman can produce next.
This final EP is probably the “biggest deal” of these three, and I honestly do get the hype. Dark Horse White Horse is a new band featuring Marcela Bovio of MaYaN, Stream of Passion, and Ayreon fame. She has one of the craziest, most out-of-this-world voices you’ll ever hear, including a higher range that will raise the hairs on your neck. So, I get why people were excited, and the self-titled EP really does deliver the goods, too. The lineup is completed with Ruben Wijga on keys and Jord Otto on guitar.
The band plays a “sympho-tech” metal, so expect something a bit heavier and faster than, say, Nightwish or Delain, but with all the melody and theatrics. The music certainly is heavy and highly technical, so much so that it can detract from the sound at times. But Marcela makes up for any drawbacks, pure and simple. She rages, foments, and stretches herself here, reaching places that other vocalists can only dream. It truly is something you need to hear to believe.
I like all five of the songs on this EP, but I think “Judgement Day”, “The Spider”, and “Get Out” are the best. These tracks have the strongest rhythms, the grandest melodies, and the most spine-shattering vocals. I think “The Spider” is the best overall, mainly because I like the chorus so much, the keyboards in the second half are so rich, and the central riff is dark and satisfying. If this EP is any indication, the first full-length album from this new project will be an event to remember.
Find Sojourner online:
Find Roman Soto online:
Find Dark Horse White Horse online: