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SEASON'S END The Failing Light
1 Records SEASEND1 (2005)

This record first came out as a self-released effort back in 2004, but now here it is again, all tarted up as a digipack doodah, complete with video for album track ďGhost In My EmotionĒ.

No, make no mistake, Season's End are a gothic metal band, but they have a harder edge to their sound than many of their European counterparts, harking back to the glorious tradition of classic British heavy metal, tinged with melancholy doomsters like my Dying Bride, and all brought up to date with modern gothic metal overtones and subjects, with a smidgeon of prog metal on the side.

Now I donít know how the original version sounded, so canít say if the remix by Adi Winman has changed much, but is does sound fabulous. Thereís no messing about with short songs here, with every one of the six tracks clocking in at over 5 minutes, and not one overstays its welcome. Vocalist Becki White turns in a sterling performance, with the requisite soprano vocals, assisted by David Stanton to provide the industry standard twin vocal mix so beloved of modern audiences.

There really isnít a weak track on this album, but "Ghost in Your Emotion" is stunning, all atmospheric keyboards and chiming guitars, with an almost Killing Joke type riff which counterparts wonderfully with the operatic vocals. The other absolute delight is the ballad, "Innocence," which with multi-tracked female vocals is stunning. The final track, "Celestia" is the most progressive track on the album, all brooding melancholy before turning into a pummelling beast of a song.

The British audience seem to have an odd relationship with goth metal, but Seasonís End could rectify that with their unique hybrid of genres. This is probably the finest British metal release Iíve heard this year, regardless of how you tag it, and you owe it to yourself to hear it.

****

Review by Stuart A.Hamilton

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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