Sorrowstorm's debut album Caverns of Grief was for all intents and purposes a one-man band. The band received mixed reviews as a whole and some wondered whether the band would ever rise above the majority opinion of "good, but nothing special". Well, Sorrowstorm HAS risen above...far above those initial opinions. This is a totally different band on Funeral Oath. The band is now a full, four-person band and while still retaining that underground sound, they have really kicked things up a notch and should have a much larger following going into their next full-length album. Speaking of full lengths, this is only a limited edition EP of 200 copies that is basically to show the new direction of the band before recording their next album. You can check out one of the new songs on mp3.com, but if you are somehow able to somehow find a copy of this despite the low quantity made, I would definitely pick one up. The band still plays black metal here, but this is not just black metal...this is black metal with authority. This isn't just black metal that you listen to in the background. The band demands your attention and drills home their point with 3 songs and 18 minutes of grinding carnage that will leave you pleasantly surprised. The band has chosen a much more raw and true black metal sound on this album. In fact, this album doesn't even list a keyboard player, unlike the last album that used them quite frequently.
Don't let the low song total scare you here, as you will be gasping for breath after the 18 minutes is through. The band blazes through these songs with lightening fast guitar playing and blasting and double bass that will leave your head spinning. The overall feel is very, very dark and even though the songs are somewhat long (5 to 7 minutes each), they never lose your attention. I'm not sure how Felipe Diez plays the drums and sings vocals live. I'd really like to see him pull it off, cause his vocals are very intense black shrieks and screams with some occasional death growls, and the drumming as mentioned above is insane for 95% off the disc.
Down points of the album?? Well, length for one. Another thing would be some similarities between songs, but this is nothing too obvious to be a big detraction. The vocals could still use a little improvement, but are still very solid and show a marked improvement over their previous material. The production could be better. The drums occasionally exhibit the ol' trash can lid sound, but overall this is MUCH improved over the last album. This is one you can crank and enjoy. Unfortunately the one page insert has no lyrics, but you can check out the lyrics of "Cursed Fires of Gehenna" on the Sorrowstorm website (http://www.sorrowstorm.com). The artwork is pretty gruesome and underground, but an improvement over the last album's artwork.
Simply put, I enjoyed the old Sorrowstorm, but this is a much-improved Sorrowstorm that will receive much more time in my CD player. This is a disc that will in no way be an embarrassment to play to any of your extreme metal friends. If this is any indication, the next album should be killer. (Review by Matt)