Well, the new Immortal Souls is finally here! Much anticipation had this band really breaking loose with a killer album after their solid last release, a consistent and matured lineup coming back, and a new record label...Fear Dark. Well, mixed feelings are the name of the game when listening to this disc. Part of me really enjoys this album, but part of me still believes that this band is not tapping into all their talent. The band claims a heavier sound on this album and is some ways it is, but the trade off is that this is less extreme then their previous efforts. It even has a somewhat commercial sound on a few songs. That being the case, the dark feel of their previous releases is less evident here. Despite that, this album is still a good listen. Immortal Souls displays some fine musicianship. The melodies are more evident than ever here, there are more guitar solos, and the emotion level seems to be upped a notch. They incorporate some clean vocals on a few songs, but for the most part they stick to their growling death vocals.
My favorite songs are probably "Welcome to North" and "Sacrifice". "Sacrifice" especially seems really catchy and sticks in my head for quite a while. Another favorite is "Man of Sorrow". It starts out with some acoustic guitar before shifting to a much heavier melodic style. They utilize clean vocals on this one, mixed with death vocals, which adds to the high emotion level. They end it with the acoustic guitars that started the song. Good ending to the album.
I'm not as fond of their lyrics and packaging as I was last time around. The lyrics are more bold, but less interesting. And the evil eyes on the front cover make the artwork look a tad cheesy. The production seems to be pretty comparable to their last disc.
Overall, if you like Under the Northern Sky, you'll probably want to pick this disc up. However, if you didn't like it I'd probably stay clear cause this one, although being more accessible, is still very similar to their last album. Even though I'm enjoying this disc, I think I like Under the Northern Sky and Divine Wintertime better. (Review by Matt)