Osiris - Eclipse of the mourning star (EP) 3.5/5
1. In the wake of the black sun
2. Holy war
3. Last cry
Regular visitors to this site know that I'm a huge female vocal lover and openly welcome the gothic metal style. Bands that blend power metal and gothic metal are a real treat, and the band Osiris (who is the Egyptian God of the underworld and judge of the dead) is described as "gothic power metal". While I agree with the power metal description, the gothic metal side is very little, so "dark power metal" is what I'd label the band. They're a trio, and to my knowledge, fairly young. Erin Sheehan is the female vocalist, who has a somewhat high voice, but it's more of a soft high voice rather than an all out soprano. Chris Witherall takes care of the drums, and Mikko Figura is the guitarist and male vocalist, who sings very little. Band comparisons are hard, but the guitar work is definitely pure power metal that can become very quick, reminding me of Stormwarrior and even Dragonforce.
Track 1 "In the wake of the black sun" is a lengthy song with some changes in tempo and is obviously intended to be a blend of gothic metal and power metal. Although I like the slower moments that continue to return back to the faster pace, this is my least favorite of the 3 songs; at the upbeat parts the female vocals don't seem to fit the music as well as they should, and when Mikko's vocals are upfront they're not very good (too deep and muffled). There are times when his vocals are more of a whisper in the background however, and this really works well for me, as it creates the "dark" side of the band mentioned. So the song has great ideas, but needs to blend together better and the gothic side (upfront male vocals mainly) should be held back a bit.
Track 2 "Holy war" is awesome! Quick riffs at the highest caliber possible! In fact, I'm currently rotating this Osiris EP with new releases from Paragon, Wizard, Burning in Hell, Cryonic Temple, Demons & Wizards and Black Majesty, and I'm telling you right now, Mikko's guitar work is on par with these mentioned bands. A killer guitar solo in the middle only fuels the praise I have for this song. Erin's vocals are outstanding on this song as well, soaring beautifully and matching the pace and greatness of the music. No real gothic metal side makes an appearance with this song (thankfully), but we do get the male vocals for a moment, though not "muffled" like with the first song, actually well done. If the band were to release a full-length debut with every song as good as this one, I'd be instantly hooked!
As if "Holy war" didn't impress me enough already, track 3 "Last cry" is another great song. Starting out with some galloping riffs, then quickly into ultra-fast guitar work, creating one of the best hooks I've ever heard! Erin's vocals are again nicely done, fit the music, and the song overall is written extremely well. This is a song that started out as just a simple traditional power metal number (the galloping riffs), but completely surprised me as Mikko took the guitar work to the next level.
Overall, the production isn't top-notch, but this is just an EP and the band shows a lot of promise, so the slightly lesser production quality isn't a big deal. I strongly feel they should remove some of the gothic metal influence though, and focus their songwriting around Mikko's brilliant power metal oriented guitar work. Erin's voice definitely fits their ideas and there are times when she really stands out, but there are a few moments when her vocals don't blend well with the music. Again, this is an EP, so I could easily see the band fine-tuning things as they grab (hopefully) a good production team. A full-length debut is tentatively scheduled for 2006, so we definitely have something to look forward to.
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