Here is an interesting one!
At first you might think Edge of Dark Waters of Reveries End is dime-a-dozen Gothic Rock with some Metal. All heard, done and gone out of fame and fashion something like 10 years ago. The kind that makes you want to paint your lips black and slap on some sickly pale color to your face.
Right? There is some truth in that, but not so fast.
‘Tis a pretty good record that should be worthy of your time. Because you’re gonna find a helluva lot of pretty cool facets to this one single, round disc that at first looks rather uniform.
And this is one of those records growing on you and morphing into something else after a few listens. Definitely influenced by the Finnish melancholy ways all over again, though. It must be the long cold winters and the absence of the sun in during this season that makes them go there all the time.
But here it comes.
In January 2016 the band announced that their lead singer Sarlina Tani will leave the band, thus making Edge of the Dark Waters the last of record with the current line-up. Her vocal performance is mostly good to very good and I really admire her effortless switch from rasps to clear vocals.
But sometimes (and only sometimes), some of that stuff she interprets comes along as a bit lifeless, reminding me in a way of the weak performance of SAVN and their debut. So, if the band can find a worthy replacement with a somewhat more powerful vocal presence, her departure might not be a bad thing.
We got “stylefusion”! What really hooked me straight is their weird mix of influences. Something like two equal parts of Stream of Passion and early Nemesea. Two parts of Evanescence and a pinch of Xandria. With some Insomnium-esque background melodies mixed into it. Straight on the Gothic Metal train, with a Doom-ish kind of blackened aftertaste.
All covered and defined?
Nope and you might have guessed it. Reveries End push Edge of Dark Waters out of the purely Gothic arena and way far into the Progressive Metal field somewhere in the second half of the album.
And indeed, whilst in the first few tracks the Evanescence-esque style really has the upper hand, the band strongly veers off towards a Stream of Passion line of thinking in the second half. So, all of a sudden we have a lot more complexity going on.
And – lo and behold – the lead singer’s vocal performance increases in substance and spread.
The record does this about-turn from this purely gothic taste to a more progressive style of music – say – as of Mute. But really takes off with it in Tomorrow’s Fool.
And this is an amazing thing, ’cause all of a sudden the lyrics fit better and the whole production gains in quality. So, crudely put, from somewhat of an Evanescence clone into the wake of Arjen Lucassen’s mighty steamer. And that is a feat – a new meaning to the saying ‘improves with age’.
Now how did they do on the mixing and mastering?
Whilst the album is loud, very loud, they have gone through great pains to really get all elements at their right level. For once I do not get beaten into submission by excessive drum work and we are not losing anyone along the way.
Kudos to all of those involved in the process: The band, recording by Markus Heinonen at Transcendental Studio and D-Studio. Mixing by Tuomas Kokko at Electric Fox Studios and mastered by Virtalähde Mastering.
Now before you guys all break out the champagne and have a party, this kind of constellation and the overall concept Edge of Dark Waters displayed here is not necessarily new. You could argue that delivery is pretty good and rightly so, but other bands can do that too – only too well.
And there is a curious absence of solos in this concoction, which in my view is a real pity. However, Reveries End distinguish themselves with this distinct progressive flavor they are able to inject into their tune.
So, in this light, does Edge of the Dark Waters really deliver?
The album starts off well with A Thousand Facets – a very fitting kick-off in my department. Mid-tempo, alternating harsh vocals with clear voice. And that is pretty good right there. Now, a little further down in the tracklist, Descent will catch your attention. With some blackened elements at first, just to lead you a merry chase into the Progressive field, with Evanescence’s ghost traipsing about in the background somewhere. I really like the quirkiness of this track.
Now, what else is there?
The aforementioned Tomorrow’s Fool is outstanding. A very varied track, really reminding me of Stream of Passion. Just check out the review of Embrace The Storm and you shall see. Further worthy to note are the follow-on tracks Hamartia – kind of in the same vein than the former track – and for sure the rocky Scales of Night.
Whilst this is already a pretty mature production, it appears that Reveries End have not yet quite found their very own brand and steady style yet. All the more so that some of that stuff on this full length has already been published earlier. Descent would be an example of that.
What they display in Edge of Dark Waters could easily be classified as one of the many almost interchangeable female fronted Gothic Metal outfits. And this will for sure happen to them in some reviews. However, to start the album with Gothic Metal and then wildly spiraling away into progressive territory, always delivered in their melancholy ways, renders this record very interesting.
So – oh weary traveler of the magic music lands – take some time and listen a little more attentively. Edge of Dark Waters will reward you with many pretty nifty hooks, nooks and crannies. This is where they put away a lot of hidden treasure.
Reveries End made a good album, but to be consumed slowly and with care.