1. Angelheart, Ravenheart (Act II: Children Of The Dark Waters)
2. Baptized By The Blood Of Angels
3. Tears Of Autumn Rain
4. Summon The Wild
5. Sea Of Whispers
6. Midnight Bird
7. Diary Of Demonic Dreams
8. When The Darkest Night Falls
9. Nocturne Thule
10. Sea Of Whispers (Acoustic Reprise)
EToS is the band that could never be put in a specific category, due to its many influences: black metal, melodic death metal, symphonic and, of course, gothic metal. After several important changes in the line-up and another long waiting for the fans, this is what we get with Children of the Dark Waters: a masterpiece!
It is a flaming album, despite of the cold, depressive artwork. It has depth and layers, which makes it listenable for the long term. It reminds me of my personal favorite, Fallen by FOR MY PAIN…, an album that still has much to offer me, even after 6 years. Though different in genre, these two bands actually have something in common: Jarmo Kylmänen has been working with both. Is CotDW resembling the last material or the earlier works? Well, it is a mixture of everything, plus something more. The album brings together many of the delicacies that built the band’s reputation. Being a huge fan of A Virgin And A Whore and Chaotic Beauty, I was healed of my nostalgia. Certain songs remind me of their previous masterpieces, in terms of melody, guitar works and aggressive + emotional attitude. Female vocals are also present, and the guests for this album are the wonderful Miriam Renvag of RAM-ZET and Heidi Parviainen of AMBERIAN DAWN. Lyric-wise, CotDW goes from tales of tormented souls to mysterious dark fantasy of the North. Coldness, sorrow, revenge, all are present and veiled in a feeling of apocalypse.
As soon as the opening track begins – Angelheart, Ravenheart (Act II: Children of the Dark Waters) – one is facing a solemn atmosphere and darkness, as well as the anticipation of a serious symphonic layer. The attempt in this album is to sound harsh, more bitter and more aggressive. Also Baptized By The Blood Of Angels and Summon The Wild prove it. The gothic influences are strong, yet the darkness of this musical pieces comes from the whole blend of various styles elements. Baptized… is probably the best of this material, with hypnotizing, fast guitar riffs that build an outstanding, aggressive and menacing tune. What is the general atmosphere and lyrics content is well shown by the chorus of this track: “Baptized by the blood of angels,/ Gained the heart of the darkest kind,/ In his veins flows the soul of ravens/ For the end… For the dusk of humankind“.
Tears Of Autumn Rain was the choice for a single, for being so catchy and impressive in its keyboard parts. With the words ‘tears‘, ‘autumn‘ and ‘rain‘, no one can point to anything else but the EToS tradition. One great surprise is Sea Of Whispers, a ballad which reminds of The River Flows Frozen. No, it’s not a daring comparison. It’s simply a remarkable track. If the vocals sound similar to you, just note that Jarmo is Juha’s brother. The song begins with an emotional piano part, introducing Jarmo’s scorching vocals, draining all life and hope: “When the last angel’s falling above the crimson sea,/ By the sun’s final rising, I don’t even see…“. And so begins this vision of an apocalypse, very well marked with Allti‘s growl towards the end. Well put effect.
The second half of the album goes a bit more epic, which can be heard especially in When The Darkest Night Falls. Not an impressive track, though. What doesn’t go unnoticed is ‘Midnight Bird’, the one that managed to remind me of EToS classics such as Aeon and Nocturnal Strains, but without those key arrangements.Diary of Demonic Dreams is the big surprise of the album (either good or bad, depends on your taste). The clean vocals here are in the heavy/power area. Until Altti’s voice came in, I had the feeling I was listening to a whole different band! However, this heavy-oriented song proves the diversity reached by EToS.
With Nocturne Thule starting a bit boring, hopes tend to be less high, but this song is actually a Northern anthem full of splendor! It breaks the general sorrow and grimness with its ascending and inspiring melody line. The soaring chorus done by the choir is something to remember! And with these lyrics to support it, you get an enchanting song: “When the winter night is the guide out of the light/ You’ll see the sky of northern lights/ I have seen the flames inside burning too bright/ We’ll share this cold and freezing night“. It may sound like old NIGHWISH to some, though, due to the female vocals/ male clean power-style vocals combo.
The closing track is the acoustic version of the balled Sea of Whispers. Not absolutely necessary, but very nice work, a pleasure for the ears and for the darkened soul…
A minus: not enough consistency of the harsh vocals.
For 2009, CotDW is an important comeback and affirmation of the Finnish metal. An album with interesting touches, with songs going from insane, fast rhythm sustained by the pedal and slow, thoughtful, emotional parts. Could feel repetitive at first, but it’s the type of material that unfolds with every spin and, nonetheless, with some love for the sophisticated and sorrowful metal of Northern Finland. For its type, it is strong, speedy and melodic enough to enslave you.
Eternal Tears of Sorrow is:
Altti Veteläinen – vocals, bass guitar
Jarmo Kylmänen – clean vocals
Jarmo Puolakanaho – guitar
Mika Lammassaari – guitar
Janne Tolsa – keyboards
Juho Raappana – drums