Austin’s Vesperian Sorrow have finally returned with a masterpiece of extreme Metal after nearly six years. If you enjoyed Regenesis Creation (2006), then Stormwinds of Ages will amaze you. There is so much going on inside this album, it requires several listens to take in every element. Case in point, I received this album almost two months ago, and only now do I feel confident to give it a proper review. Vesperian Sorrow held no punches on the caliber of who they worked with for this endeavor beginning with the cover created by Texas artist, Jon Zig. Zig is known mostly for his work with the Death Metal scene, and his vocal duties with acts such as Sarcolytic and Images of Violence. Not only did Zig create the artwork for Stormwinds, but he also lent his growl on the track, “Legacies Befallen.” Each track, totaling ten, takes you on a dark journey into a musical world of an intricate interlacing of bombastic riffs, haunting keys, and a wall of low-end that will leave you exhausted. This not your typical Black/Death Metal band with a keyboardist, rather a band that builds songs around the soundtrack that can be created by blending the symphonic with the extreme. Along with Jon Zig’s vocal talents, Vesperian Sorrow called on more Austin talent in the form of Erika Tandy, best known for her vocal stint with Ignitor, and Jason McMaster. Each vocalist appears separately in the album; Erika on “Casting Dawn into Shadow” and “Death She Cried,” and Jason on “Relics of Impurity.” But the two of them join voices with Donni on the track, “Eye of the Clocktower.” Erika lends that angelic yet mournful touch to the songs, while the addition of Jason’s voice brings a new element to the band. All three guest vocalists add to the layers in the creation of the album. Not only does the album have guest vocalists, but guitarist, Carl August Tidemann (Winds and Tritonus), lends his skill on the title track and “An Empire to Mourn.”
All the guest musicians may be construed that the band cannot stand on its own merit, but I’ll argue that the album would’ve been just as strong without them. Their contributions to Stormwinds of Ages merely compliment the outstanding work the band has accomplished with the album. From the beginning, Vesperian Sorrow has stood apart from their peers without the recognition they deserved, and with this album they will get the accolades they’ve earned.