Vintersea – Illuminated (M-Theory Audio)

Thursday, 19th September 2019
Rating: 9/10

It was just two years ago that Vintersea made a splash with their full-length debut, The Gravity of Fall. One of the best at blurring the lines between genre that particular year, they left a strong impression due to the sheer wealth of songwriting influences and how they put them all together into something progressive and fresh sounding. With The Gravity of Fall as their template, they’ve again one-upped themselves with Illuminated and crafted an even more intriguing listen.

One of the best things about Illuminated is just how much there is to take in, and how easy it is to do. Just under 40-minutes in length, there’s much to unpack as the band covers different options in their metallic wheelhouse. There’s the usual extremes of black and death metal, mixed in with some progressive moments, post- metal, and some melodeath. Certainly it reaches for more but the point is made – but what might not be expected is how well it blends together. Outside of the all-encompassing progressive tag, nothing is ever really played straight. Instead you can hear bits of things within a track, and they are quick to move to something else – be it a somber and emotive moment, or one that oozes of blastbeats and fury. The tracks suck you in with their masterful reach, with the case in point being that of “Crack of Light.” The song swings from blackened rage to sweet, progressive melodies and even some jazzy saxophone while keeping an enigmatic tone and focus on experimentation. Along these lines, to compliment the band’s musical diversity, vocalist Avienne Low adds to the action, with roars and screams that pulsate with fury, but able to switch over to some serene clean vocals that are emotive without a drop of saccharine flavor.

For those who enjoy some experimental and progressive tinglings to their heavy metal, Vintersea need to be on the ‘need to know’ list. Illuminated is wondrous in its ability to take from different genres while giving it a more unique coat of paint than you might expect. It’s a challenging record that will reward listeners who are seeking something more.

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