Vesperian Sorrow – Awaken the Greylight

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Austin, Texas-based symphonic black metal entity Vesperian Sorrow was formed in 1997. It is one of the very first bands from the U.S. to parade into the symphonic and orchestral. Vesperian Sorrow debuted its first studio album 'Beyond the Cursed Eclipse' in the late '90s era and thus found its niche that was inspired by Norwegian black metal acts. The band had released four studio albums and now returns with its fifth studio album 'Awaken the Greylight' out on April 26th through Black Lion Records.

Both veterans, Christopher Nunez (drums and keyboards) and Will Rohirrim (guitars) have been at the helm since the start of the band, with Orlando Logan Olivero (vocals) and, Gabe Reyes (bass) provoking some robust symphonic qualities among the connoisseurs of the genre. The swell of the orchestral arrangements overloads the guitars in the opening track ‘As the Pillars Were Raised’ before the drums kick in with eerie riffs, giving you a brand of unique style like a Middle Eastern storm in the Sahara. The dramatic clean vocals and the lead section are nicely juxtaposed.

At first glance, Vesperian Sorrow has made some clear changes in their direction which highlights the work of the synthesizer and the soaring clean vocals adding some textures to the following song ‘Antediluvian Proceeding the Unshaping’ where the band showcases its melodic influences from the genre.

The lead guitars and song structure are surprising, showing how Vesperian Sorrow opts for multiple styles from technical guitars to orchestral passages. The effort on the fifth studio album shows us a restructured sound: the drums hit at a breakneck speed while slow and mid-tempo parts are settled by the swell of the guitars and the theatrical clean vocals.

An Epistle to the Prime Vivified’ is a mid-tempo track, followed by a beautiful piano passage in the opening of the track ‘Traverse The Vorthonian Passage’ which is one of my favorite songs of the album. You can hear the extensive use of the synth. The production is noticeable on this album and sounds a bit polished. The raw riffing, blast beats and orchestral arrangements are pivotal and utilized as the central piece on each of the ten tracks. The drums are straightforward at times and slower when the atmospheric intro is used.

The vocals are ominously dark and the sheer eruption of the drums rumbles loudly in the up-tempo sections. All these elements provide haunting passages for the music throughout the album. Some sorrowful and somber moments drape over the listener in tracks like ‘A Dire Flight for the Black Fragment’ which perfectly follows in the same melodic tinge and atmospheric style of the previous track.

When the keyboards are present, the atmosphere draws the listener into a dark and haunting mood. The demonic growls and black metal raps perfectly complement the swelling riffs and while the riffs on the album are mediocre, the drums conveys some blasting powerful tracks like ‘Seek the Last Priestess of Tyyk’.

The song titles and the lyrical themes contrast with the album’s cover art: though I would say the band has opted for an epic melodic and symphonic style of black metal, there is enough variation throughout these songs allowing the clean vocals to evolve before the drums and the guitars unleashes a full barrage of force.

Tracks like ‘They Beheld the Chainbreaker’s Crowning Defiance’ and ‘Who Dwells within the Blight Moon’ contain traditional tremolo-picked riffs and the drums on these songs are powerful in their approach. The growls and the clean vocals are heavily used and some electronic samples add a subtle layer with the synth. Vesperian Sorrow conveys a sense of grandeur on its newest record. The problem with the album is that the clean vocals aren’t as catchy nor dramatic which somehow ruins the flow of the songs.

The drums bring an incredible intensity keeping the songs dynamic and full of varied tempos. The album concludes with the eponymous title ‘Awaken the Greylight’ which accompanies synth and powerful guitar riffs. The drums are played at fast-paced and kicks into high gear with the melodies giving a grand and epic feeling.


  • Music / Songwriting 7/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 7/10
  • Mix / Production 7/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 7/10
  • Originality 7/10

Overall, ‘Awaken the Greylight’ by the U.S. symphonic black metal stalwarts Vesperian Sorrow manages to fully embrace their symphonic traits with a dash of powerful drums and clichés of modern metal.

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