1-13 - Music Review: IMMORTAL SOULS - IV: Requiem For The Art Of Death

IV: Requiem For The Art Of Death
Facedown Records

IV: Requiem For The Art Of Death is Immortal Souls’ fifth full-length release. The reason behind having it labeled with the “IV” is probably because they’re not counting the Under The Northern Sky release on the defunct Little Rose Productions, and just the ones released thereafter. This is just rampant speculation on my part again, no need to take that as hard fact, there.

Anyway, Requiem For The Art Of Death is a bit different from the other releases we’ve come to expect from Immortal Souls, as instead of the well-loved themes of winter and frost and living in the great north area and such, Requiem is a concept album of sorts, kind of an existential meditation on death and what that means to those of us who have yet to shake off this mortal coil of ours. Reportedly, this came about when the death of the father of the two main members of Immortal Souls–brothers Aki and Esa Sarkioja–and as a way to deal with the loss, they decided to write through it, and produced this album. Which also accounts for the lack of winter scenery on the album cover, which has been the staple of the band since they first hit the extreme metal scene.

But, enough of this back-story yammering. What’s the \,,/METAL\,,/ like on this release? Usually when one says “concept album”, words like “experimental” and “not what you would expect” begin flying about in your skull. In the case of Requiem, though, even though it began with a brief instrumental introduction featuring chilling winds, a funeral bell, and a picked guitar riff of sorts, the heavy, melodic death metal goodness hit me with “Evil Believer”, and set my soul at ease. Overall, Requiem turns out to be a rather solid album of heavy melodic death, with many great riffs and brutal rhythms, interspersed with some good solo work from not only the guitars, but also the bass in the opening of “Hypnotic Atrocity”. Save for the brief guitar instrumental “Art Of Death Act II: The Last Journey”, the songs are mostly good, heavy melodic death metal that you’ve come to love from the band. The last two songs do deviate a bit, though, but in this instance they actually gel pretty good: “One Last Withering Rose” is a mid-paced, more emotional song with clean vocals that aren’t annoying at all, and fits the tone of the song, which is still pretty heavy for what amounts as the closest thing to a “ballad”. The last song, “Art Of Death Act III: The Requiem Of The Funeral Eve” is a doomy, heavy and atmospheric 8-minute epic to cap off the album.

Overall, IV: Requiem For The Art Of Death is a good, solid release, which I found a bit more listenable to the previous Winteriech for some reason. In Europe, it was released on the Dark Balance label, and here in the U. S. of A., it was released on Facedown Records. Recommended listening, this is. Pick it up.