Cryptic Age – Sounds Of Infinity

Cryptic Age
Sounds Of Infinity
Released 26th May 2012
Power-Folk Metal
Self-Released

Cryptic Age are a relatively young band on the metal scene but they’ve already penned a mighty beginning to what could be a very long legacy which includes sharing the stage with folk metal legends Skyclad and black metal heroes Hecate Enthroned, as well as the release of their debut EP last year and it doesn’t end there, Cryptic Age will be sharing the stage with Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger in September at the first ever Warhorns Festival, as well as playing Metalcamp a month before and this year has seen the release of their first full-length release: Sounds Of Infinity, an album that I’ve been waiting to hear since they announced they were recording it. I think it’s safe to say I may have got a little excited when I received it.

Sheayn ny Feaynid is the first track of the album and what a way to begin the album. The dark orchestration and monologue create a very mythic yet tragic sound which really does set the mood. Maelstrom follows next with a powerful symphonic sound blended in more hard rock styled riffs. The vocals are impeccable, adding an undoubtful spirit to the track. The chorus is very poignant, staying with you long after listening to the song. The tribal-like drumming of Fortuneteller signals in a change of sound for the album, with a use of exotic sounding riffs that tease the ears in a similar manner to a fine wine teasing the taste buds. The vocals are very harrowing, which suits the mystical and exotic soundings of the keyboards and the callous guitar and bass sections. The guitar solo embeds a modern sound into the track, which fortunately doesn’t dampen the track.

Horsemen of the Vale signals another change of sound for the album, ushering grand, majestic and epic riffs. The vocal sections are very arioso and dulcet. The keyboards really shine out in parts of the song, keeping the symphonic element strong. The end of the song has a genius touch with the sound of a glass smashing followed “Bloody Lancashire bastard. I’ll have ya!” – Though I doubt anyone other than Yorkshire folk will appreciate that section. The beginning of The Aftermath sounds like a scene from 300 before the Ensiferum-like riffs ravage through the speakers like a horde of angry Celts. The vocals, much like the guitars and drum sections, are strong yet aggressive. The monologue towards the halfway point of the track is mystifying and enchanting and the section that follows after is a beautiful yet savage mixture of symphonic and heavy elements. The calmer section, composed of flutes leads back into the Ensiferum-like riffs, rather masterfully. Sea Invocation is possibly the most bewitching song on the album, containing a medieval essence. It’s an unexpected track and yet it fits ever so perfectly on the album. It’s certainly a track any fans of Celtic music.

Perpetually Blind (Sounds of Infinity: Part I) begins with an enchanting vocal melody that gradually leads into a mighty symphonic piece. The guitar riffs are interesting, sounding like a twisted power metal riff. The symphonic parts of the track add a very august sound to the track, making it feel more tragic than one of Shakespeare’s plays. The next track Eternity Beckons (Sounds Of Infinity: Part II) carries on the aphotic sound, with the vocals sounding extra gloomy whilst the guitars and drums thrum on like a finely tuned machine. The monologue adds a mystique to the track, fitting in well with the aphotic sound of the quadrilogy. Seeking The Cure (Sounds of Infinity: Part III) begins with a keyboard section that eerily sounds like something from a Final Fantasy game mixed in with a dash of post-Tarja Nightwish. The orchestration and guitars make or an interesting blend throughout the track, as do the drums in certain sections. One of the most interesting sections of the song is the bluesy solo. Sounds Of Infinity (Sounds Of Infinity: Part IV) ushers in the end of the album, beginning with a whisper followed by a callous and heavy barrage of guitars, drums and keys. The Gaelic sound parts of the song certainly conjure up one’s inner Celt (or in my case, one’s Scottish and Irish heritage), adding a unique, hypnotic sound to the album. The vocals are mesmerizing and dynamic, enforcing the unique sound of the song, while the guitars and bass are more on the aggressive, inserting some fierce excitement to the track.

I’m not quite sure how to summarise my thoughts on the album into one last paragraph as I’ve never heard an album quite like this. Each track seems to take on a life of its own and tells a different story through the music. Cryptic Age have surpassed so many bands of their genre with this release and have proven themselves, once again, a folkin’ force to be reckoned with. Cryptic Age are definitely one of the finest folk metal bands on the scene and Sounds Of Infinity might just become an influential album on the scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

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