Misteyes – “Creeping Time” Review
It all goes back to Celtic Frost who began employing an operatic soprano into their music and before long Therion kicked the Wagner into high gear. Then came bands like Night Wish who took the genre in a more romantic Andrew Lloyd Weber direction. With Death metal vocals clashing against the operatic soprano a similar beauty and the beast dynamic that those bands embarked upon is at work here. This album is heavier and darker than your average pirate shirted symphonic metal band. Waltzing around the tight chug of guitar, are rubbery bass lines slithering beneath the big gain to add further texture to the murky layers of metal. When it comes to the arrangements, these songs tend to flow in movements rather than the traditional verse / chorus formula. “Brains in a Vat” is not surprisingly more death metal than opener. They do not begin conforming to the balance of opera to metal that earlier Night Wish struck until the more brazen “Inside the Golden Cage”. When it comes to slicing and dicing metal sub-genres, the Italian band is more death metal where Nightwish is typically power metal.
Not weighed down by theatrics there are a few moments that find the more conceptual elements bordering on the ghastly level of King Diamond or Cradle of Filth. The melodrama thickens with the piano into the more melodic balladry of “Lady Loneliness”. Singer Denise Manzi has pipes, however her melodies dances around the song, rather than fits tightly in the pocket like a rock singer. Unless we are talking about the singles from bands that have broken out of symphonic metal into a more cross over market like Within Temptation, this tends to be a stylistic choice within this sub-genre. Manzi hits some impressive notes in her soprano register, and clearly worships at the altar of Sarah Brightman. The guitarists and the drummer are all very skilled at their trade and these guys nail the execution.
photo by IT Metal Head
The album does incorporate the good cop / bad cop trade off with the growled male vocals is not overly formulaic. When the growls reach above the guttural death metal style they sound a little like a less annoying Dani Filth. Where the band shines is when they suddenly throw in an elegant acoustic passage. This is done in manner that’s unexpected, and some days I listen to eight hours new music so if you can surprise me you are doing something right. The Phantom of the Opera homage “A Fragile ” feels more like an interlude rather than an actual song. The heavier “Chaos (Awaken the Beast)” playing it pretty safe for head banging and leaving the symphonic elements in the closet. When the heavy has been blended so well over the course of the album their symphonic bag of tricks you don’t realize how much you appreciate them until they set the cello section aside for a song.
Despite the guest appearance of Bjorn from Soilwork, “Decapitated Rose” might not be the album’s strongest song, but it does high light a good balance of dynamics. They do not take you on many sprawling prog journeys, so when they close with the eight minute “Winter’s Judgment” the melodrama is thickened. At the strongest moments it sounds like more straightforward Dimmu, but the Night Wish like fringes at a lacey undercoating. Overall this album is surprising and fans of symphonic metal will find a fresh and heavier approach to the genre.