Immortal Souls - Under the Northern Sky (Little Rose Productions) 2001
This is one of those bands that I get a slew of emails about asking why I don't have any. To tell the truth I have owned and traded all of Immortal Souls discs over the years, including the EP and spit CDs released before this full length CD. I never seem to hold onto their CDs because while I like the music, their death metal song writing and monotone death vocalist tend to leave me with little to no lasting impression. I know that sounds a bit harsh, especially for a band that is as musically talented as this band is. Immortal Souls are a Finnish melodic death metal band that mixes in equal amounts of classic metal and doom metal! The band themselves describes their music as 'wintermetal,' which is a pretty good description of the cold, dark sound they create. I have always described them as the Finnish version of In Flames, although I hear equal amounts of Children of Bodom and even a hint of Iron Maiden. For the most part, the music is heavy and pummeling, but there are the more melancholy moments as well, like in the beautiful instrumental "Snowfalls." This song creates a wonderful mood that is unlike the rest of the disc. At the heavier moments, the mixture of down tuned chords and melodic leads are quite intriguing. The music to me is the most inviting part about this disc, however, the monotone death vocals just don't create much in the way of memorable hooks or even melody. I really wish that they would have employed a vocalist with a bit more range and/or variety to his vocal style. Death vocals just get boring over time. Perhaps with repeated listens I will grow to appreciate the vocals but for now they sort of ruin an otherwise excellent CD. I do enjoy the poetic and thought provoking lyrics though.
Immortal Souls - Ice Upon The Night (Fear Dark) 2003
Immortal Souls sophmore disc brings more of the same melodic death metal reminiscent of bands like In Flames and early Amorphis. "Ice Upon the Earth" is a bit more melodic than "Under the Northern Sky", although not really any less aggressive or heavy. The vocals are still growled death vox, but they also add in some clean vocals here and there to offer some variety. Immortal Souls displays excellent musicianship here, as well as an ability to write extreme music with a bit of variety in tempo and emotion. They even add in some melancholy moments here and there to spice things up as well. "Man of Sorrow," for instance, starts off with an acoustic guitar, not an instrument commonly used for death metal. A few songs even seem to incorporate a power metal vibe, however, this is not the general feel of the CD overall. For the most part, Ice Upon the Earth is as the title describes, cold, extreme, metal. While most death and black metal purists may be turned off by the many emotions presented here, I for one find it more interesting than the average, boring black metal band.