If you are starting to think that Vikram Shankar is everywhere, you’d be right. I’ve enjoyed watching Vikram become such an in-demand musician. I’ve enjoyed seeing him collaborating with other highly talented individuals, too. Threads of Fate is exactly that. Their debut album is called The Cold Embrace of Light, and it is extraordinary. It released on March 11th.
Threads of Fate is something of an Internet band, as the members live in different places in the US. The lineup includes Jon Pyres on vocals, Jack Kosto on guitars and production, and Vikram Shankar on synths and orchestration. I reviewed the band’s debut EP back in 2018, too, so be sure to hear that excellent release, as well.
Something has changed from the 2018 EP to this full length record. Threads of Fate has changed in some subtle way that I cannot name for some reason. The EP featured a progressive symphonic metal that was grandiose, heavy, and darkened with death metal elements. It was a great mix. This album has the same sort of genre combination (I would say with fewer death metal accents), but I feel like the sound is brighter, more theatrical, and simply bigger in scope. The orchestrations, in particular, are out of this world in their beauty and exhilaration. Yet, I would also point out that the band feels far more balanced this time, too, with subtle melodies and piano lines offsetting the majesty of the rest of the sound.
And that’s just it, isn’t it? The sound can almost be overwhelming at first. The production here is extremely well done, I must say; as the metal elements, keys, and orchestrations blend not so much seamlessly, as they do in layers that stand out from each other. That really impressed me.
I would say that one’s affection for this band lives or dies with your appreciation of Jon’s voice. His vocals are difficult to describe. He originally hailed from Puerto Rico, so he has something of an accent, but it’s not just that. His style is theatrical and dynamic, often spiraling down or up a few octaves without warning. His vocal lines are written very well and are quite unique. There are moments where it might feel like he isn’t going to hit the perfect note, but he always does. His performance is fantastic, in my opinion.
The Cold Embrace of Light is an illustrious and unyielding affair. Each of the eight tracks is lovingly crafted, that much is obvious. Even the shorter opener “Beneath a Starless Sky” is full of wonder and enchantment, as it slowly builds itself into a towering orchestral crescendo that gives me goosebumps. Indeed, the entire record feels that way: full of wonder and enchantment.
“Moonrise” is a good test for how you will like this band. The vocals are dramatic and poetic, the guitars are driving and dark, and the orchestrations hover above like nimbus clouds pregnant with rain. The song is both haunting and enlightening. Yet, right after this, another favorite track appears, “A Ghostly Portrait”. This one has a simple chord progression at its core, but for some reason it is addictive. I like how this song has plenty of ambient, spacious moments, segments that allow the song to breathe and for Jon to emote. Such a great track.
I like each and every song here. “The Horrors Within” is a haunting track with lots of harsh vox and a cinematic interlude in the second half. “Against the Shores of Le Monde”, the title track, and “Love Held With Hatred” hit in succession with power and drama. All three songs are thoughtful and mystical in presentation. The album ends with “Ashes”, a slower and more cinematic track with fantastic expression from Jon and an orchestral finish that is stunning, beautiful, and pensive.
I had faith that this band would produce good music, and that they have. Threads of Fate isn’t like most other symphonic metal out there. There is more doom and darkness in their sound, but it is always contrasted with lofty splendor and vivid light. The Cold Embrace of Light is an album that I instantly felt was special, and it only deepens in gravity the more I listen.
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