Review: Misteyes – Creeping Time

Opening with the crying of a baby is always a strange way to start an album, but ‘The Last Knell’ soon picks up with a sullen piano followed by catchy synths, orchestral arrangements, and operatic chanting. Least to say, this intro builds and builds until bleeding into the first real track.

‘Creeping Time’ seamlessly carries on from ‘The Last Knell,’ but with the added element of shreddy rhythm guitars, and complex drum beats. We’re soon introduced to the death growls of Irmin and the angelic operatic voice of Ainwen. A deeply enjoyable track that shows off the talents of every member of the band, this tune has something for everyone from the duality of the vocalists, which includes soaring highs and deep death growls, some sweet bass lines, and gorgeous keyboards. At six minutes long you’re in for a wild ride all the way until the clock strikes and the track fades out.

‘Brains in a Vat’ opens with a thrashy guitar riff and doesn’t let up even as Ainwen enters. The keyboards soon kick in and so does Irmin’s snarling vocals. Expecting a speedy track transitions between fast and slow throughout, but never loses your attention. There’s just so much going on between here, but it’s all perfectly spaced and layered.

Starting with strings and hypnotic synths, this track builds up slowly with a continuation of the synths over the howling of Ainwen and the tapping of the bass drum. Once Irmin snarls his way in the song kicks up the speed and heaviness before catching you off guard with a shreddy build up. The track soon explodes into a fast paced duel between Irmin and Ainwen where the lady reigns supreme with her soaring voice. Everything hits just right here from the drums and the guitars to the vocals and the synths.

The album’s first ballad ‘Lady Loneliness’ has an epic feel to it as the keyboards start things off. When Ainwen enters we’re taken into a realm of insecurity and loneliness.  There’s a strong traditional symphonic metal vibe here, especially with Ainwen holding her vocals to a more common range. Honestly, it’s a beautiful song that really comes into its own in the second half. The snarling death vocals of Irmin, the tinge of distortion, and a soft but sexy lead guitar really round this song out in an unexpected way.

‘The Prey’ is by far the coolest song yet. Starting with the sounds of a man running at full speed followed by a terrified gasp we’re launched into a gnarly track seething with gothic metal goodness. The heavy drums and hypnotic synths throw you into a haze while Irmin almost becomes the hunter chasing “the prey” and then there’s Ainwen’s vocals. Pushing her highs to max, she pushes this song and album beyond what I’ve come to expect.

A very thrashy song in terms of guitar, ‘Destroy Your Past’ continues the forward momentum of this album as everything just falls into place here. Like every song before it, this song has a ton of great atmosphere and character to it, but it’s the bellowing of Ainwen that really wins me here – she really utilizes her range well, as does Irmin, of course. And just when I thought I had this song figured out about three minutes in we’re greeted with an intoxicating acoustic section that comes with an awesome bass line and synths. Though short, this section is followed by some of the best guitar and synths on the entire album! That guitar solo absolutely blew me away!

Starting off with a sullen lead and heavy rhythm guitar alongside cymbal splashes, this track starts off with a nice doom metal quality before diving into a gnarly guitar solo. The song soon returns into a sludgy goth-meets-doom style, which dominates much of the song. It’s one of the more complex songs in terms of the guitar and bass, but the vocals have somewhat hit a wall here. Regardless, this is one of the most punishing songs until about the five minute mark when Ainwen sings over a cheery piano. Not long after, the song falls back into its doom-meets-goth style with one of the most amazing keyboard solos I’ve heard in a long time. And let’s not forget about the shreddy guitar solo late in the track. All in all, this is one of the best songs on the album despite the vocals becoming a little redundant at this point.

There’s nothing more that I love in music than when a band completely mixes things up the moment I feel like the album is becoming stale. ‘A Fragile Balance (Awake the Beast Part 1)’ is a goth masterpiece fit for a Castlevania game – that’s a major compliment. Driven by haunting synths, we’re taken into a whole new world where Ainwen’s clean singing is complimented by clean male, which not only blows my mind but makes me wonder why the band didn’t utilize this element sooner.

A return to form, ‘Chaos (Awake the Beast Part 2)’ is a hard hitting, synth-driven track led by Irmin’s death growls. It’s pretty obvious that the intention was to be the direct opposite of “part 1” and Misteyes does this well. The lack of clean vocals and the use of powerfully atmospheric synths give this song a great standout character – it very much lives up to the title and really comes into its own about four minutes in.

‘Decapitate Rose’ opens with a nice bass line and quickly falls into the established formula of the previous tracks. It’s by no means a bad song, in fact it’s just as memorable as the others, but it doesn’t stand out from the pack like some of the others, save for some great clean male vocals and the inclusion of less-deathy vocals at key points. Almost the same thing can be said about the eight minute album closer ‘Winter’s Judgment.’ Though I have to say the inclusion of violins and soaring guitar solos gives this track the standout feel needed in an album closer.

Over seventy minutes long, Misteyes’ debut album Creeping Time is an epic in more ways than one. Combining death, goth, symphonic, and doom metal into one fantastic package is not an easy task, but Misteyes pulls it off. From haunting synths and gorgeous female vocals to bone crunching rhythms and blood curdling snarls, this album hits so many genres and does it very well. Over all, and despite its incredible length, this album stays fresh far longer than you’d expect. The variety in the band’s style is the ace up its sleeve and I look forward to whatever comes next after this outstanding debut. 8.5/10

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