This is an album that is going to grow on me with each listen so I have been slow to rush in a review it on first listen in real time like I normally do. Yes I have heard these guys before but this is the first album that has really demanded my attention. The vibes of the Gathering and My Dying Bride are strong here. Some of these songs are so subtle in the way they work the formula I had to listen multiple times "Lustrous Heart' being the first example of this. The death metal growls leading off/ I like the dark depressive mood these songs encompass I am familiar with Heike's other project ISON, I appreciate that she does not over thinking in an uber dramatic fashion that the purple corset wearing symphonic metal types do. This is what gives them a more Gathering like quality. I think her voice really tips the balance as if it was just up to the harsh vocals it would get boring fast.
The atmosphere is thick on "Sleepwalkers" so much so these songs might drift like ghosts away until the hook comes on the chorus. The dynamic range these guys are capable of is pretty impressive. There is more of a metallic stomp to " Moon Over Sabbath" . It is the first song where the growling dominates and it still works even as her vocals sit in the background. So the weight of the entire album is not on her voice after all. 'Burial Fields" drifts on fragile ambiance and feels more like an intro to "the "Sethian ". When her vocals do take the more dominant role and the male vocals which are more shouted than growled on this fall back into the background it works better. It does make them more effective when they come roaring into the chorus.
Their sense of dynamics is jaw dropping of "Claw Marks on the Throne" . The sung vocals gain more prominence as the song begins to soar away. There is a more ballad like tone to "Night Visitor" it could almost be a Sarah Mclachlan song. It builds into a marginal power ballad. Her vocal choices are smooth and interesting. The last song is almost a nine minute recap of the melancholy sonic river we have floated down. There is nothing new revealed during this trip, but confirmation of what works for them . I will five this album a 9.5, it's excellent and very easy to listen to as I love the mood conveyed and it flows effortlessly.