Saturday, 31 December 2011

CD Review: Chaotic Beauty, by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow (2000)

The third album from Finland's Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, and the first recorded with the support of a label, Chaotic Beauty features mature melodic symphonic death metal, music that can be imagined in a concert hall, emphasizing melody and tight delivery above all.

Chaotic Beauty is all about well-rounded compositions, with no single element from the band's arsenal dominating: the guitars and keyboards take turns at point and rarely unleash uncontrolled bolts of lightning, while Altti Vetelainen's growl vocals are mixed low and to the rear, emphasizing the doom shadings that make regular and welcome incursions from the dark alleys behind the theatre.

The introduction of overly prominent and melodramatic female vocals courtesy of Kimberly Goss on tracks such as Bride Of The Crimson Sea is unnecessary and distracting from the core strength of the band. Fortunately her segments are generally short and survivable.

Eternal Tears Of Sorrow sprinkle Chaotic Beauty with short catchy tunes that belong either in nightmarish children's fairy tales (the opening of Nocturnal Strains introduces a folk legend that can only end badly), or symphonic flourishes that require an energetic conductor in coattails (the opening of Bhean Sidhe deserves a royal audience). Occasionally the guitars of Puolakanaho and Talala team up for animated but bloodless duels.

The best elements of the band are pulled together on opener Shattered Soul, an up-tempo tune that charges  confidently across the frozen landscape of northern Finland, powered by a relentless but compact riff.

Chaotic Beauty is a lot more beauty than chaos, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow positioned firmly on the more artistic side of melodic death metal.


Altti Vetelainen - Vocals and Bass
Jarmo Puolakanaho - Guitars
Antti Talala - Guitars
Petri Sankala - Drums
Pasi Hiltula - Keyboards

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Shattered Soul - 10 *see below*
2. Blood Of Faith Stains My Hands - 8
3. Autumn's Grief - 9
4. The Seventh Eclipse - 8
5. Bride Of The Crimson Sea - 7
6. Black Tears - 8
7. Tar Of Chaos - 6
8. Bhean Sidhe - 8
9. Nocturnal Strains - 9

Average: 8.11

Produced by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow.
Recorded by Ahti Kortelainen and Mikko Karmila.
Mixed by Mikko Karmila. Mastered by Mika Jussila.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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