Oooh, it’s been a while since I reviewed a new/local band. The last one I did was in 2008, and they were called Temujin who promptly shat their pants when I suggested their production had all the flair of dead badger. Thankfully, Cryptic Age aren’t a doom band from Australia, but a young, firey folk metal band from God’s own county and Sounds Of Infinity is the reason you’ll be finding them at MetalCamp this year.
Sounds of Infinity has leanings from almost every sub-genre of metal that exists today. Fortuneteller combines all aspects of the various influences into one suprisingly fluid track, from the sweep guitar and melodic soloing of Hallam Smith that dances with the old call-and-return trick with Jenny Green’s keyboards. Green, who also contributes vocals to the album has a serious Liv Kristine vibe going on with her voice, and while some of the diction isn’t amazing, some of the notes and the melodies that come out of that girl’s mouth are pretty damn impressive.
As I said before, there’s a nice mix of flavours in Sounds Of Infinity. Annoyingly half of the rhythm guitars sound either lo-fi black metal or borderline midi, which is a real shame considering that Sounds Of Infinity has some great moments. The lead guitars truly bring out the tone seeker in Hallam Smith, with some wonderfully bright and sharp tones that accentuate some of the melancholic melodies in The Aftermath. Admittedly, this particular track’s guitars are genuinely crushing, especially towards the end; the acoustic passages on the following track Sea Invocation are delicate and bright and sound perfect for the multi-layered vocals that flow over the top of the finger picking.
Perpetually Blind is Cryptic Age in their stride; combing all elements of their sound into a quiet/loud patchwork of sounds that have already brought a fantastic dynamic to the album that serve as the crescendo into the meat of the track, before the eerie exit piece on traditional instruments. The title track itself is somewhat of the icing on the cake, easily outdoing the rest of the album, with wah solos, blast beats and, of course, some marvellous vocals and keys.
Sounds Of Infinity is an album that is essential if you’re keen on the slightly heavier side of lady-metal. It’ll please Leaves’ Eyes fans, it makes mincemeat out of Middnatsol, and to be completely blunt, they’re another band like Lyriel that put big hitters like Nightwish to shame. Aside from some minor production quibbles (and to be honest, I’m a picky bastard as it is), I can’t really recommend this enough if you like prog-power-folk-lady-metal. Which is a real genre. Honest.