Sons of Seasons - Magnisphyricon
Napalm Records
Dark Power Metal
14 songs (66'03")
Release year: 2011
Sons of Seasons, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex

Supposedly, one man can’t know everything, so the existence of the Sons of Seasons project/superband was a total revelation for me. I guess calling Sons of Seasons a project is a bit unfair, since the members stuck together for more than a couple of years, released a pair of albums (Magnisphyricon being the second full-length) and even toured around their native Germany a bit. The “super” tag fits Sons of Seasons, however, as the collective combines the talents of well-known musicians involved in other high-profile bands, i.e. Henning Basse (vocals, Metallium) and Oliver Palotai (keyboards for Kamelot and guitars for Doro).

Completely unfamiliar with Sons of Seasons debut, I am relegated to judge Magnisphyricon as a standalone effort, unable to see the Sons of Seasons dynamics and evolution in time. In that light, Magnisphyricon is an extensive, rather slickly produced effort, punctuated by mature songwriting and nestled somewhere in between dark, gothic, symphonic and power metal, the place called home by Kamelot and perhaps Labyrinth or Rhapsody of Fire, but much less so. In fact, if you missed the energy in the latest Kamelot album, Magnisphyricon might be a second chance to travel your favorite soundscapes. Seeing that Oliver Palotai is a songwriter or a contributor on the majority of the album’s songs, perhaps the rest of the Kamelot crew might give his ideas a shot.

The first half of the album did captivate me more with its sliding dark melodies and catchy dense choruses (Bubonic Waltz, Soul Symmetry, Sanctuary). Heavy meaty riffs, magnified by the production (Casus Belli I: Guilt’s Mirror), are not the only attraction in the first half of Magnisphyricon. There is room here for creative keyboard representations as in stealthy, jazzy play of Sanctuary, making the sound practically mischievous.

Helped by Oliver Palotai’s relationship with Simone Simons (Epica), Sons of Seasons are able to enlist Simone’s help to sing guest vocals on several tracks (Bubonic Waltz), as well as male/female duets (Sanctuary). “Help”, however, is the literary term here, as Henning Basse hardly needs any. The man, in fact, comes off better than in Metallium, being able to restrain his monstrous range in lieu of some fascinating singing. At the same time, Casus Belli I: Guilt’s Mirror shows him almost growling, while A Nightbird’s Gospel has him do everything from the aforementioned growl to shouting to spoken word.

As much as I would have preferred Magnisphyricon to continue “waltzing” along (and who doesn’t like a good waltz), the band is determined to showcase that they do not lack punch and modern heaviness. From Into the Void on down, and with the exception of mellow closer Yesteryears, Sons of Seasons slam the hammer hard. The atmosphere shifts to more bellicose, and definitely darker and creepier. Lilith leaves welts and bruise marks with its crushing rhythms. Opening with Eastern world music motifs A Nightbird’s Gospel could have come from the dungeon with its torturing solo. Tales of Greed shows some zoned out prog, ‘core-like shouts, childrens’ chorus and the Flight of the Bumble Bee solo all enmeshed in some weird blender, but after that the things fall a bit of a rut. Perhaps a trimmer, swelter album would have made for a more memorable ending, or at least a song sequence not piling all things dark towards the end would have been more palatable. Alas, it looks like Magnisphyricon might be a concept album (no lyrics in my hands to ascertain), so it is conceivable that lyrical subject matter dictated the mood shift and increase in heaviness.

When you have quality artists involved, as is the case with Sons of Seasons, a quality output is not difficult to expect. The band does not overreach with complexity and sprinkles just the right amount of cheese onto more than an hour worth of music. In some eyes and ears, Magnisphyricon may play better than Oliver’s and Henning’s more known “mother” bands.

Killing Songs :
Bubonic Waltz, Soul Symmetry, Sanctuary
Alex quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Sons of Seasons that we have reviewed:
Sons of Seasons - Gods of Vermin reviewed by Thomas and quoted 75 / 100
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