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Below you can find a selection of album reviews and live reviews from throughout the years

Beyond the Black Reviews

www.metal-temple.com (8/10)
Creating an epic, a story, a tale is a challenge that is heavily demanding. When integrated with music, the task gets tougher, and the brainstorming done to make it of interest might send one banging its head to the wall. Then again, it is a journey that may as well be a means to find one’s self. I have been fortunate enough to get to know a band that found itself unraveling new music, after so long since their debut album. The Irish OLD SEASON, a group that was an alien to me until the first time I took a listen, signed with Pure Steel Records for the release of their sophomore, “Beyond The Black”. Such form of Epic Heavy Metal that took me a bit by surprise, especially when it's made in a decade where tradition is almost on the side of the road.

I have been over numerous acts that originated in the British Isle, following the same spectrum as OLD SEASON, and if there was one thing that this kind of music, which is to me mainly the storytelling abilities as the core, is the hardship to create a flow in the songs. Now, when it comes to OLD SEASON, their music might be driven from the NWOBHM shell, yet also knew how to adequately assimilate modern elements into their compositions. Generating a sound that nods to both past and present, their Heavy Metal is intensely melodic, compiled of variations that could be noticed on early British Metal albums, along with twin guitar action, while their riffery shares qualities of Hard Rock to Progressive Metal, well not that progressed yet steps out of the box here and there. Therefore, “Beyond The Black” displays an assorted form that attempts to be just a tad diverse in order to be relevant and fresh. Furthermore, I was astonished by the high quality of the band’s new singer, bearing a name that is no less than a commitment to excellence. Surely one of the driving force of the band and this new album.

At first I had another hit song in mind to present, however, I couldn’t turn away from the sheer superiority of the last track “Nevermore”. This is a model of a true Heavy Metal epic. It might be lengthy, yet the minutes faded like seconds. Such gratifying passion for a tale, for the drama, virtually a song for generations, stellar melodies and ample ability to keep the whole shebang in context. If you were looking for a bit of a punch, I would recommend on “Scavenger”, displaying a strong traditional melodic Metal, it might not be overly catchy songwriting, not as if it is on demand, yet clearly shows a solid front and of course the band’s profound playing abilities. “The Journeyman” is a kind of a bonfire song, or storytelling act, that turns into a metallic artistry, certainly one of the best tracks that this album can offer, with a lot of old school British Metal focus that turned it into a modulated 80s Metal song. Also recommended: “Elegy”, “A New Dawn”, “The Void”.

Though picking a title that is closer to a cliché, OLD SEASON proved the other way around with their music. There is something magical upon creating an Epic. Armed with intriguing concepts, and a Metal form that is directed towards melody, the only way is up.
bestofprog.blogspot.ie (91.5/100)
Beyond the black is the second full length album of Epic metallers Old Season from Kildare, Ireland. Before hearing this album, I had never heard of the band, and boy did they blow me away. Their music has an ageless quality to it, with heavy and epic elements mixed in, in equal quantities to produce one of the best epic releases in 2017. The band has a new singer compared to their previous release, John Bonham, with vocals lines that are clearly meant as a homage to NWOBHM sound. "River of Cepha", "Elegy" and the astonishing closer "Nevermore"rank as the most epic and grandiose moments of the album, while tracks like "Scavenger" and "Journeyman", serve as a link to a more straight/in-your-face aspect of the band that seems to be more in line with the new direction of the band, that although straying from its epic roots, still delivers some epic thrills! A surefire recommendation for fans of epic metal, as well as those that enjoy their music old-school.
rockarollazine.blogspot.ie
Fundados en 2002 en Dublín y después de lanzar su primer disco “Archaic Creation” hace ocho años -precedido del EP “Volume One” de 2005-, la banda irlandesa Old Season vuelve al primer plano de la actualidad con la publicación de su segundo larga duración “Beyond The Black”. Entre un disco y otro, la banda tuvo que lidiar con la marcha de dos piezas fundamentales en el haber de cualquier formación, como son la de un guitarrista y el cantante, y emprender la búsqueda de sus sucesores. Dicha empresa culminó en 2013 con las incorporaciones de Jimmy Kiernan (guitarra) y John Bonham (voz) más tarde, quienes vinieron a completar la formación actual junto Dave Copley (bajo) y a los fundadores Jimmy Blanchfield (guitarra), Dermod Smyth (teclado) y Anton Walsh (batería). Este periodo de incertidumbre, lejos de instalarlos en la desidia, les llevó a volcarse en la composición de los complejos temas que encierra este “Beyond The Black”. Así, nos encontraremos fundamentalmente con medios tiempos preciosistas -casi siempre por encima de la marca de los seis minutos-, a través de los que disfrutaremos de fantásticos arreglos, dramáticas ambientaciones, inusitadas melodías, prodigiosos cambios de ritmo, un monumental trabajo de guitarra y un destacado protagonismo de la voz. Tal vez sea la incorporación de la savia nueva la que haya desencadenado que Old Season se aparte del epic/doom metal del que hacían bandera en sus dos primeras referencias, para blandir un heavy metal melódico que, si bien en algunas canciones rememora ese legado épico, se hace envolver actualmente de un aura mucho más progresiva.
Si bien es cierto que todas las canciones rayan a un nivel compositivo muy alto y resulta difícil destacar una por encima de la otra, me quedaría con la singularidad de Scavenger -un agudo inicial y un buen riff de aguerrido heavy metal se hacen acompañar de un heroico estribillo y un interesante cambio de ritmo que precede al solo-, Rivers of Cepha -unos teclados de órgano catedralicio y unos alaridos desgarrados desembocan en un medio tiempo que avanza lento y pesado hasta llegar a un brillante y animoso cambio de ritmo-, Words from Beyond… -una pieza excelente en todos los sentidos con toneladas de prodigiosa guitarra solista- y Nevermore -toda una epopeya de más de sus nueve minutos de duración que se sucede como una auténtica montaña rusa de tempos musicales-.
La respuesta a si “Beyond The Black” marcará el nuevo camino por el que andará Old Season en un futuro inmediato, es una incógnita que sólo la banda nos podrá desvelar en sus próximos trabajos. Por nuestra parte, recreémonos hoy en la obra que nos ocupa: un álbum exquisito y minucioso para deleite de aquellos que aprecian la melodía acompañada de una dosis justa de potencia.
www.metalhead.it (8/10)
(Pure Steel) Gli irlandesi Old Season propongono un secondo disco molto interessante, sospeso fra più generi (almeno epic, heavy e progressive metal) e che trae la propria forza dall’insieme, molto solido e omogeneo. Quest’album dalle strutture articolate e complesse, dove solo una canzone dura meno di sei minuti, si apre sulle tastiere pompose di “A new Dawn”, che mi ha ricordato (ed è un grande complimento!) gli Adramelch: un epic/prog dai toni adulti e allo stesso tempo incalzanti, con belle parti strumentali e un refrain di rottura. “Scavenger” è una cavalcata influenzata dalla NWOBHM, mentre la lunga e potente “Elegy” svela i caratteri drammatici di un’epica crepuscolare. Quasi nove minuti per “The Journeyman”, una mid-tempo dove il piano ha un ruolo determinante: una canzone maestosa con passaggi molto intensi. “Rivers of Cepha” si gioca anche l’organo in apertura, per un altro esito cupo e drammatico. Ancora heavy/prog laccato e di classe per “Words from beyond…”, in conclusione abbiamo poi la bella “Nevermore”, che passa da atmosfere doomish ad assoli classicamente anni ’80. Disco non facile, “Beyond the Black”, ma che potrà soddisfare certamente i defenders in cerca di atmosfere ricercate e sfaccettate.
www.stormbringer.at (4.5/5)
Mit dem Stachanow-Orden wird es für die Iren von OLD SEASON nichts werden. Mit der erst dritten Veröffentlichung „Beyond The Black“ hat man allerdings einen Gewinner auf seiner Seite. Enorm epischer, traditioneller Metal mit einer Spielzeit von über einer Stunde, vom Sechser aus Athy im County Kildare auf durchgehend hohem Niveau vorgetragen: grandioser Gesang von John Bonham und abwechslungsreiche Gitarren, die immer mal gerne mit Soloduellen und Twin-Harmonien aufwarten. Alle Songs länger als sechs Minuten, das Magnum Opus „Nevermore“ lässt dann zum Abschluss auch noch die Neun-Minuten-Marke zerbersten. Und keine Sekunde Langeweile! Mit 4,5 von 5 Punkten ein herausragendes Album. (C.W.)
www.neckbreaker.de (9/10)
Das Debüt „Archaic Creation“ von 2009 liegt mir noch gut im Ohr als ich zum ersten Mal in den Nachfolger „Beyond The Black“ hineinhören darf. Ihr ergreifender, höchst emotionaler Heavy Metal hat mein Herz im Sturm genommen. Basierend auf Doom Metal und dem guten alten NWOBHM haben die Iren ihre eigene Nische gefunden. Eine Prise US-Metal höre ich ebenfalls heraus und die dargebotenen Stücke überschreiten bis auf eine Ausnahme locker die 5-Minuten Marke, man möchte sagen, sie entfalten sich!

Sehr ausdrucksstark ist auch der Gesang, der dramatisch und sogleich mitreißend dargeboten wird. Die Stücke selbst sind abwechslungsreich aufgebaut, oft sehr episch und ausgefeilt bis ins letzte Detail. Songs wie „Scavenger“, „Elegy“, „The Journeyman“ oder das Grande-Finale mit „Nevermore“ muss man einfach gehört haben.
Hier haben Pure Steel einen ganz fetten Brocken an Land gezogen. Ob sich das auch verkaufstechnisch abzeichnet ist ungewiss, aber qualitativ haben wir eines der Anwärter des Album des Jahres 2017 vor uns. Viel besser geht kaum noch! (Ralf)
www.metalinside.de
Yepp Freunde, was die sechs Iren von OLD SEASON mit "Beyond The Black" da abziehen, ist ganz großes Kino. Episch, ursprünglich und pathetisch, denoch mit eigenem Profil und ganz viel "Metal Heart Inside" präsentieren sie ihr Album Nr. 2. Aber der Reihe nach.

Die Band existiert seit 2003, brachte 2009 ihr Debüt heraus, und schlappe acht Jahre später knallen sie uns dieses Juwel vor den Latz. Der Opener "A New Dawn" marschiert, gebettet auf einer mystischen Keybordmelodie und flankiert von Gitarren, die gleich gefüllten Wolken langsam den Horizont verdunkeln, auf das Schlachfeld, dass es den Hörer erschauern lässt. Im Kern thront ein Refrain, der so leidenschaftlich von Sänger John Bonham intoniert wird, dass allein dieser Song das Teil schon über den Durchschnitt hievt. Die neun Songs sind proppenvoll mit Inspiration, Spielfreude, viel Pathos und einfach klasse Melodien. Mit jedem weiteren Song bestätigt das Sextett die Klasse, die ihm innewohnt. "Elegy" doomt melancholisch aus dem Startblock, um später in einem Herzblut-Finale mit wehenden Fahnen und berstendem Stahl im Hörer zu versinken, wie einst die Titanic im Nordatlantik. Kurz gesagt, Ausfälle sind in über einer Stunde Spielzeit nicht zu finden.

Einzig kleines Manko ist partiell die Performance von Sänger John Bonham, der bei den hohen Passagen manches mal den Pfad ein wenig verlässt. Aber im Gesamtspiel betrachtet kann das meine Begeisterung nicht trüben - zu offenkundig ist der Enthusiasmus der Musiker, zu eindringlich die Songs, zu gehaltvoll die Arrangements und zu überragend das Songwriting. Bei diesem Album gibt es kein Vertun, hier muss der geneigte Metal Fan die Lauscher mal ranhalten.
www.kaosguards.com (16/20)
Les premiers pas de la bande Irlandaise commencèrent en 2003 ayant pour but de délivrer un heavy métal travaillé, réfléchi et de classe internationale.

Un ep vit le jour en 2004 et un album en 2009, depuis c'était le calme plat. Comme moult formations OLD SEASON devait trouver les personnes idoines pour pouvoir mettre en forme de la meilleure des façons possibles son concept.

En 2017 cette stabilité de line-up leur a permis de signer un contrat avec Pure Steel Records, ce qui devrait mettre un coup d'accélérateur dans le parcours du sextet. Si de sérieuses influences NWOBHM se font sentir dans ce cd, il possède a contrario des passages progressifs qui sont bigrement alambiqués.

La richesse des harmonies des guitares se mélangent avec un chant mélodique lui-même accompagné d'une rythmique appuyée à une dose chirurgicale. C'est dans ce domaine que les Irlandais ont réussi le coup parfait: équilibrer leur son pour qu'aucun instrument ne soit mis en avant, ayant pour conséquence de rendre justice à chaque protagoniste.

Leurs compatriotes de Stereo Nasty viennent de voir arriver une autre formation (en plus épique ceci dit) qui augmentera la crédibilité de ce petit pays qui ne demande qu'à être reconnu en Europe comme un acteur important.
speedfromhell.blogspot.ie (8/10)
Segundo disco para esta banda de Heavy metal melódica que a sido una gran sorpresa el escucharlo.
Para empezar diremos que son originales que eso en los tiempos que correr es muy complicado, luego seguimos por su gran aportación melódica de lo mas grata y buena para los oídos y después por su grandes composiciones con toques progresivos en algunos momentos con grandes músicos claro esta y una bonita voz que lo complementa.
www.worshipmetal.com (7/10)
When Beyond The Black began, we were young, excitable, full of wonder about what the world had to offer. When it ended, we were old vikings, we’d seen the world, conquered most of it, we’d had our share of knocks and bruises but we’d carried on.

This may seem dramatically exaggerated but Beyond The Black makes you want to don a helmet and run headlong into battle!

Irish heavy metal sextet Old Season have absolutely smashed it out of the park with Beyond The Black; an album that contains just over an hours worth of heavy metal magic. The riffs are relentless and the composition is complex and exciting, twisting and turning like an old country side lane that you should only really do 30mph down but you drive at 70mph (probably while listening to Beyond The Black!).

The storytelling narrative of Old Season’s lyrics is excellent and the band perform with unrelenting energy throughout with “Nevermore”, their rip-snorter of a 9 minute closing track, proving tighter than your grumpy grandparent that only gives you a fiver for your birthday.

Old Season have a great way of guiding you through rhythmic shifts and blistering solos and “Scavenger” – the first single taken from Beyond The Black – teams with energy and makes us want to go and mosh; mosh ’til the break of dawn and then some! It’s playful, its lively and there’s even the odd bit of falsetto to get excited about (maybe that’s just us!) and you can’t get better than that.
www.irishmetalarchive.com
The loss of a powerful character in a band, be it a front-man or otherwise, can mark a crisis point for many outfits. They are often the face of the band in the eyes of the fans or the general public. Even if they were not the main song-writer, the force of nature and presence they provide, can often put others in the shade. After all, there are not many that share such traits knocking around. AC/DC recovered from the death of Bon Scott to incredible heights with Brian Johnson. PINK FLOYD similarly dusted themselves off in the aftermath of Syd Barrett’s emotional collapse to become the behemoth that they are/were. For many IRON MAIDEN fans, Bruce Dickinson is the only guy that they would contemplate out front. However the latter band also provides one of many cautionary tales. The affable Blaze Bayley was unable to be the larger than life persona required for the job. Their colleagues in JUDAS PRIEST experienced a similar feeling when Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens replaced Rob Halford. You may have the voice but the strength of will may be lacking.
Kildare based metal outfit OLD SEASON had a dilemma to face when MOURNING BELOVETH came calling for their lead singer in 2010. For many fans, Frank Brennan and OLD SEASON were indelibly linked to one another. It was a move that surprised a few but it was not a decision he could really turn down. MOURNING BELOVETH demand a higher profile and tour regularly across Europe. The band faced a crossroads. To continue with another face or to quietly go their disparate ways. It hence came as a pleasing surprise when it was announced that following an extensive search, and numerous auditions, that a replacement had been found. It was important this process was not rushed or conducted hastily. The mix between vocal style and character had to be right to allow him to integrate seamlessly into the band. Obviously any length of time away, may see a band slip out the consciousness. A series of live dates, including a blistering appearance at Siege of Limerick in 2015. They were also busily writing away, developing material which compromises this album here.

Opener, ‘A New Dawn’, sets off with a synth led piece. This seems almost cinematic in its scope and testament to the work of Dermod Smyth with its booming brass and orchestral feel. This is punctuated by a few isolated drum beats. The drumming becomes gradually tighter and with more discernible patterns. This is added to by the guitars which manage to hold to the same flow as the introduction. The vocals make themselves known and it is interesting to note their tone. Definitely more on the melodic side of affairs, and a hint of power metal to them. John Bonham, he of a famous name, is able to display an impressive range from lower tones to some decent screams. There is good combination between the two guitarists, along with a few tasty solos to boot. The drumming builds up an impressive beat throughout. ‘Scavenger’ steps up the pace and displays more of a N.W.O.B.H.M vibe to it. That is not to say it is being deliberately retro for the sake of it. Plenty of bands from Canada and Sweden have breathed fresh life into this. It is a guitar/drums led track from the very beginning. The riffs in particular, are particularly catchy and this leads into a soaring set of vocals from Bonham. It is very much a chorus driven piece with some really infectious leads on display. Definitely made for the live arena. ‘Chosen’ changes tack with a distinctly slower and heavier intro. The guitars are thicker, the keys are slower and the drums carry a noticeable thud. It is the song which is most recognisably OLD SEASON. An almost doomy CANDLEMASS-like feel with a palpable sense of menace. A great power and sense of gravitas to the vocals with a hint of Greg Lake era KING CRIMSON at times. This is laid down over solid drumming, plonking piano and a powerful solo.



‘Elegy’ re-visits the symphonic atmosphere from the opening track. Dramatic and emotive in equal measures. For a point of measure, look at ‘Night of the Demon’ by Demon. Sturdy drum beats from Anthony Walsh are laid down over a sorrowful and yearning set of vocals. The playing involved is a clear example of their music writing capabilities. They manage to maintain the same melodic sense upon which they built their name on. Events slow right down to allow for a powerful guitar solo to shine through. The melodic feel is maintained in ‘The Journeymen’ with its melancholic piano led opener. This builds up to introduce the drums and a few guitar licks are peeled of for good measure. The drums gather speed, whilst maintaining the same sense of rhythm. It seems to be the tale of an outlaw who has accepted his life’s mistakes and seeking redemption for them. There is a great combination yet again from Jimmy Blanchfield and Kiernan. Serious pace and power is built up with a couple of sweeps being thrown in. There is also an interesting contrast in some of the vocal styles employed with a whispered piece and more harsher vocals elsewhere. Another organ led piece crops up in the guise of ‘Rivers of Cepha’. Symth really gives it a sense of grandeur. It comes across as being akin to a symphonic black metal piece when added to the high pitch wails being used. Events settle back down but maintain an air of darkness. Bonham keeps up a mood of spite by sarcastically laughing. The playing is thick and chunky before leading into a quickening spiral.

‘Words From Beyond’ sees yet another symphonic lead intro. A delightful combination brings all the main players together before a wrought and powerful guitar solo. A few sweeps are included again. There is serious weight given to the drums and Dave Copley’s bass work. Bonham’s vocals are gloriously overwrought and demanding of your attention. It reminds one of the classic lead singers of the genre such as Dio and David Byron of URIAH HEEP. ‘The Void’ is suitably moody and atmospheric. It gains in tempo before slowly before kicking into a piece with considerable weight and pace. It almost comes across as being a proto-thrash number. Definite nods to their NWOBHM influences. This gradually slows to a bass and drums driven section towards the end. It reaches a fittingly epic and dramatic closer with ‘Nevermore’. At nine minutes, it is definitely the longest track on offer here, but keeps the listener’s attention up throughout. The lyrics are excellent and performed with astonishing tight energy by the band. Riffs and leads, rhythm and groove all unite to produce a quality piece of heavy metal. As they have shared the stage with bands such as LORD VICAR, SOLSTICE, ATLANTEAN KODEX and others of that size, it is clear they are aiming for a bigger scale.


Old Season

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. They have been able to take on influences from the past and create something that is fresh sounding and new. They are also able to sample a number of differing styles, be it doom, power metal, traditional metal or thrash. Their power metal stance is more on the ICED EARTH side of matters than EDGUY thankfully. Different elements do not outstay their welcome either. A step is taken into one genre without falling straight into it. It was great news to hear they were deciding to continue on and this album proves them right. Unfortunately so far their recorded output has been fairly limited in comparison to their musical lifetime. Hopefully this will allow them to reach new territories and produce more work.
www.metalkaoz.com (9/10)
I don't remember if it was a friend who sent me OLD SEASON's debut EP, “Volume One”, or if I stumbled upon it on MySpace. I do remember it was striking hard though; I was fascinated by the fantastic melodies in the vocal lines and the mellow and dynamic guitar-sound. I had it on for weeks and it was with great anticipation I took on “Archaic Creation”, but to my surprise, that didn't do anything for me at all and just vanished into obscurity.

When “Beyond The Black” showed up, I didn't know what to expect and in this case it was a very good thing to dig in impartially. And perhaps, the first 1-2-3 spins didn't do very much; everything sounded good and the guitar sound I loved from the EP was there. But for spin 4-5-6, the impression skyrocketed and “Beyond The Black” kept spinning. The strong melodies and fantastic vocal lines started to settle and the greatness of the album to shine through. “Scavenger”, the second song, was the first to stick with the phrasing making it very catchy. There's still a desperation and melancholy in the music that I love. And towards the end of this one, somewhere after the solo when the vocals increase in intensity there's nothing to do but crank up the volume and enjoy it.

Dark and heavy “Chosen” has a more fateful tone but again, the dynamics and melodies are there. The CANDLEMASS-type riff in the bridge before the chorus works fine. The massive epic “Elegy” feels like a MANOWAR hymn and the build-up towards the second part of the song is fantastic. There's no real verse, bridge, chorus structure here and that I love. The third part of the song is absolutely amazing; the layers of guitars and other instruments working in the back and the vocal lines on top of it create such powerful music even if it still is slow, mellow and melodic.

One of the absolutely strongest things with OLD SEASON when I got into them was vocalist Frank Brennan; his voice is amazing on the recordings and of course I wondered if John Bonham, who replaced him could live up to his standards. Frank perhaps had a clearer and distinct tone in his voice but the nerve and passion John possesses trumps that, he sounds absolutely amazing on “Beyond The Black”. Theatrical “Rivers Of Cepha” shows another side of OLD SEASON and BEYOND TWILIGHT is the closest reference here. It's dark, dramatic and super-heavy and feels more evil than the rest of the songs on the album.

The songs I keep repeating for every spin (at least once) is the last two, “The Void” and grand finale “Nevermore”. “The Void” starts slow, low-fi, BLACK SABBATH “Planet Caravan”-ish which is very cool but it is when the whole thing kicks off the real goosebumps come. I just love it when a band uses such mixture with intensity and when the drums are doubled after the first round, yeah! Fantastic. Here, John uses that high-pitched voice again as towards the end of “Scavenger” and he sounds incredible good. Then, massive “Nevermore”, Doom-y and the addition of piano works exceptionally well in this track. Again, there are many different passages in the track which was a lot to initially melt but now, for each spin new details crystallize and that is what will make this album last.

There's not much to complain about in “Beyond The Black”; perhaps the vocals could have been a bit more prominent in the mix. But that's all I have. When looking at Heavy Metal / Doom OLD SEASON are absolutely one of the best when it comes to creative melodies, both guitars, keys and vocals and even if I've referred to other bands there's no rip-off, just similarities. OLD SEASON sure have a unique sound.

Archaic Creation Reviews

www.burnyourears.de (9/10)
Besseres Bier. Bessere Butter. Bessere Bands. Die Rede ist natürlich von Irland.

Zumindest auf dem Schlachtfeld des epischen Metalls haben wir der Phalanx aus PRIMORDIAL, WAYLANDER, CRUACHAN, MAEL MORDHA & meinen Lieblingen aus Cork, SIROCCO etc. kaum etwas entgegen zu setzen. Und mit OLD SEASON machte sich 2004 der nächste Trupp „gall oglaigh“ auf, das Schlachtfeld des epischen Metalls zu stürmen.

Da wohl kaum jemand hier das vergriffene Debüt „Volume One“ sein eigenen nennt: OLD SEASON hatten sich anfangs mit drei Mitgliedern aus der Erbmasse der gefallenen KARNAYNA formiert. Angeführt wird der Clan aus dem County Kildare von einem etwas besser Bekannten, Gitarrist u. Klarstimme der Death Doomster MOURNING BELOVETH: Frank Brennan.

Was gegenüber o.g. Bands auffällt: die für CRAUACHAN & Co typisch keltischen Trademarks irischen Folks und Pagan Metals finden sich nur untergründig & dezent. OLD SEASON vermeiden das smaragdgrüne Cliché: es geht eher in die Richtung MEDIEVAL STEEL, BROCAS HELM oder HEIR APPARENTs 86er Meisterwerk "Graceful Inheritance".

OLD SEASON besetzen zwar die Schnittstelle zwischen „normalem“ Epic Heavy und irischem Pagan Metal, aber die Bewaffnung ist eher traditionell metallisch, als traditionsbewusst irisch: doppelläufige Leads, die ansatzlos gefangen nehmen, Riffs, die keine Gefangenen machen, Hooklines, die sich spontan festbeißen; bestdosierte Rhythmuswechsel, treibende Parts mit höchster Bangkompatibilität, melancholische Untertöne; dezent nicht nur der Folkanteil, sondern auch das Keyboard, das Atmosphäre schafft und nicht aufdringlich alles „verpfeift“; und das Ganze so strukturiert, dass man sich leicht fallen lassen kann.

Kurzum: schlichtweg geiler, multifunktionaler Metal mit stimmigen Stimmungen, fernab von jerglichem MANOWAR-Schwulst. Authentisch eben. Und einem brillanten Sänger… Das Pathos, mit dem Brennan seine Geschichten aus alten Zeiten erzählt, kann schon deshalb nie kitschig werden, weil er zu den ganz Großen der Epic Barden zählt. Selbst in hohen Tonlagen hat seine Stimme Kraft und Volumen.

Schwachpunkte gibt’s kaum… Allenfalls die Eröffnungsnummer ist etwas unscheinbar, verglichen mit dem Rest und selbst der Barde scheint sich noch warmsingen zu müssen. Aber danach knackt's so richtig! Der "Rest" verdient mindestens das Prädikat „Klasse“ … oder liegt sogar drüber wie das herrliche „The Mission“ oder das unglaubliche „At the Hollow“.

Traditionalisten, Heiden und alle sonst wie episch Infizierten, sogar MAIDEN-Verehrer, die ein „Revelations“ einem „Back in the Village“ vorziehen, sollten an diesem Teil viel Freude haben.

Ein zart kritisches Wort vielleicht zum Sound, der gern etwas rustikaler, altmodischer hätte ausfallen dürfen; --- wovon beim mindestens ebenso guten, längst vergriffenen Debüt noch etwas zuwenig war: akustische Transparenz, ist diesmal etwas zuviel.

Der traditionalistische Charme der Musik nimmt dennoch nur wenig Schaden… dafür hat das einfach zu viel Substanz
www.hellspawn.be (90/100)
De vocalist van deze Ierse band, Frank Brennan, zullen sommigen wellicht kennen van death doomers Mourning Beloveth. Enkel leuk voor statistieken of Band To Band achtige dingen, want Old Season heeft voor de rest geen uitstaans met voornoemde band of genre. Al zit er wel een dynamiek in deze debuutplaat die je aan doom metal kunt linken, het zit toch vooral in de traditionele, epische hoek. En het zestal benadert het sterk afgelijnde genre op een frisse manier. Door de wat complexere maar toch zeer toegankelijke songstructuren, door het vermijden van ellenlange herhalingen, door de mooie balans in hun instrumentarium (in gitaar en toetsen vooral) en door het uitstekende zangwerk. Het geeft een puntiger, scherpere indruk dan het gros van de epic bands. Het geeft Old Season een wat eigener geluid ook. "Archaic creation" is een heel sterk debuut van een erg talentrijke band. Onbegrijpelijk eigenlijk dat dit in eigen beheer moet uitgebracht worden! Oordeel zelf op http://www.myspace.com/oldseason
www.hellridemusic.com
It has been nigh on five years since Irish epic metal squad Old Season offered up their extremely promising debut salvo. And let me tell you, the time has been put to good use. This is no extension or rehash of the debut. While there is enough cohesion to maintain a band identity, this one definitely sails into new territories. I’m going to use words that I usually would not in a metal review here, words like art, words like lush and words like polish. This is artful in a classic sense, not in any post punk dumb shit art rock way. This has a sense of depth and luxury mixed that can best be described as lush, and while I usually like my metal raw, this has a very polished sound to it and here it works to good advantage.

For a six piece, there is an amazing capturing of each instrument clearly in the mix. Keyboards, usually a bad word in metal, are not just background shading, but rather a key (no pun intended) player on the field. The overall effect is one of majesty and grandeur, at turns rousing and piercing and then searing and moody. The guitars spin out leads of exquisite feel, the rhythm section thunders and pushes, and over it all are vocals that are quite a revelation. Frank Brennan may also man the microphone for Mourning Beloveth, but this is worlds apart from that. Here he has a power, clarity and presence reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson (though by no means sounding like him).

Like the Dickinson thing, a lot came to mind when listening to this that referenced bands Old Season sounds nothing like but share a dynamic with. The fact that “heavy” can well be achieved without reverting to guitar tone and other obvious surface methods came to mind. Much like Pagan Altar have shown possible, the heaviness here is a product of the heart and effort put into this not just a few elements of it. I was reminded of the power of guitar leads to affect the listener, that I first learned with Schenker and Roth blistering my young ears. I was reminded how rousing epic metal can be from Manilla Road to Doomsword. That Old Season share dynamics and affects, but sound nothing like, many good or great bands is a good reflection of the quality and individuality on offer here.

I’m also not going to single out individual tracks as I usually do. Every single track here is beyond solid. The songwriting and arranging is real artistry to an extent that might well, even given the line up changes, explain by itself the long wait between albums. Not for everyone for certain and by no means an easy listen (you really have to full focus on it for its true depth and treasure to be revealed), but for the right ears this one is going to be a long loved classic. This is metal with both class and bravado.
www.metal-archives.com (86%)
The term "originality" is one that has been bastardized in Metal over the years to the point where even the slightest deviance from the norm will end up being described with that phrase. It has gotten to the point where the "originality" has been used in describing trendy hipster bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and WINDS OF PLAGUE. Ugh. Using that word to describe these bands is like using the same word to describe 80s KISS. That’s not to say that all modern Metal is garbage, mind you, but nothing has really been mind-blowing in the sense that I’m sure MERCYFUL FATE’s "Melissa" was back when that was released. On the other hand, we have bands that use that term as a way to justify how awful their music is (see some of the negative reviews that I’ve written over the past couple of months). What they claim is originality is just poor songwriting and performing. It’s always refreshing when a band actually is unique and innovative without needing to play up originality as a selling point; in this case being the band OLD SEASON with "Archaic Creation".

OLD SEASON was formed in 2003 in Ireland. This is the band’s second album. You might recognize their lead singer, Frank Brennan, as the clean vocalist in MOURNING BELOVETH.

Putting a tag on the music contained in "Archaic Creation" is difficult and ultimately proves useless, since this band does not copy the sound of one of the genre’s forbearers. I could tell that this band was from Ireland even before I read the band’s bio, but don’t expect another folk/celtic Metal band here; the influences are much more subtle and perhaps sub-conscious. There is a bit of an epic feel to the music and some atmospheric moments, but once again, nothing blatant enough to classify the album as such.

One might think, based off of the logo, that this band is another Black Metal project, but there are no growls to be found here. One of the best things about this album are the vocals of Frank Brennan, who steals the show with his off-kilter harmonies and powerful melodies. The songs themselves are complex without relying too much on weird time-signatures that other bands use as a gimmick. The solos that show up provide an excellent addition to their respective songs; I almost wish that the lead guitars had a stronger presence on this album, maybe this will change on their next album?

Many of the songs are able to stand alone and make a strong statement while leaving a lasting impression. Opener "Meet Me On The Battlefield" is what I would recommend to someone that has never heard the band before; Brennan is in top form and this song serves as a proclamation for the band as a whole. I cannot think of a single song that is filler; the material is universally strong. Personal favorites include the aforementioned"Meet Me On The Battlefield", the brooding "Bitter Is The Wind" and the towering "A Soldier’s Song". Make sure to read the lyrics when listening to this album to experience the full effect and perhaps provide insight into the mood of the song.

Even though this will most likely not make my top 5 end-of-the-year list, this is a release of exceptional quality. Be forewarned, this is no musical fast food, it will take more than several listens to fully appreciate. I am very glad that I have heard this album and if you desire something different from the norm, definitely give OLD SEASON a try. I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next; this band deserves to be heard.
www.metalireland.com (4.4/5)
Ahh Old Season. Where did it all go right? There have been precious few bands in the Irish metal scene that have had a totally positive response from day one, but the minute Karnayna dropped their more doom death style and injected a huge dose of epic atmospheric metal exquisiteness to become Old Season, the reaction has been universal acclaim from their large crowd of devotees.

“Volume One”, their long awaited first album, was plagued by a subdued mix, where vocals and keyboards lay buried, thus depriving the album of its two strongest points, and a major sticking point for the hugely anticipated “Archaic Creation” was always going to be the production.

Thankfully, all possible fears are soon waylaid when crowd favourite ‘Meet Me On The Battlefield’ starts off much the same as the debut did (with ‘And Sands She Turned For Time,’) with that gorgeous, atmospheric introduction, culminating in a heartfelt and melancholic keyboard and guitar rocker, only this time around, with perfect marks to the production. Vocalist Frank’s pipes are crystal clear, and set exactly where they should be in the mix, with the guitars and keyboards sounding wonderfully full and rich.

The most immediate thing that strikes the listener is the unbelievable tone the guitars show off, it’s absolutely captivating to listen to, and comparisons simply have to be drawn with “Volume One.” It just beggars belief how much change there is in the sound, and it makes listening to “Archaic Creation” an utter pleasure.

Lyrically, the album is a hundred percent Irish, in the Primordial vein of pride in one’s homeland, and fighting the good fight; good rousing stuff. And it’s the kind of thing Old Season do so well in the live setting, transferred onto CD; equally as stirring. It’s hard not to get enthralled by something so powerful, particularly when the vocalist is easily the best one in Ireland. You simply couldn’t have anyone else in Ireland singing this stuff; it would take the magic away.

As regards the packaging, again it’s a quality looking digipack release, very subdued (as previously with “Volume One”,) aiming for a more enigmatic design rather than a standard in-your-face metal assault, choosing instead to use pictures of nature – ‘the rebirth of a forgotten season’, as stated in the inner sleeve. Strangely enough, the cover doesn’t lack from having no artwork; the barely-there logo and title suit the music within down to the ground, it looks nice and archaic.

For bad points, there really aren’t any of note. There are a few occurrences of backing vocals used to give certain parts of songs extra kick, as in ‘Murder,’ but for the most part, they’re not really needed. Frank’s voice can carry the song easily enough without needing another vocal line behind him. It’s a very minor criticism though, and no doubt will come down to a personal preference for the listener. As will the use of swearwords in ‘Forever Damned’ - it just seems like it cheapens the song.

For most albums, there is usually one standout track that rocks above all the others; on this album there are several heavy hitters that count as the album highlight, and as such it’s hard to pick which one is the very best, but at the minute (and no doubt this will change with repeated listens, and indeed with different listeners), ‘At The Hollow’ is the standout song on the album. Everything works to beguiling perfection there, and it’ll be the track to watch out for when the band play live. In conclusion, there’s nothing much that can really be said to detract from “Archaic Creation.” It’s just awesome from start to finish, majestic and rousing with a massive sense of all things epic, and it’s going to make Old Season an even more powerful force in the gig setting. International acclaim has to surely follow once this one gets spread about, and it’s an exciting time to see one of Ireland’s best bands get better and better.
www.metalstorm.ee (8/10)
The Irish dudes of Old Season have finally released their first album called Archaic Creation. I don't know if you had the chance to listen to their first release, Volume One (a EP) but if you missed it be sure that you'll have a look at this new album my friends! One more time Mourning Beloveth clean vocals dude Frank Brennan and his band mates propose an excellent Epic Heavy with classy melodies and a "true" spirit. This is simply beautiful and Frank Performance's is absolutely stunning, Old Season deserve all your attention and support!

Old Season plays Epic Heavy so don't expect anything really depressive or dark. I'm not saying too that the release is "pop" but this is extremely catchy and the melodies will stay in your head without any problems. The good thing here is first that Epic Heavy Metal is not so common nowadays so this album is refreshing on a side but also I think that a lot of people will like Archaic Creation. If you're into Doom, or Heavy, or classic Rock, this is for you and I even think that people who like extreme music could enjoy this release. Even if the vocals are clean, this is just classy and from the beginning to the end you'll listen to really good music. The songs are long but they entirely work and damn the performance of Frank Brennan is just amazing!

The recording and the production of the album are nice (everything is featured in a sober but classy digipack) but the most impressive part in the album is the performance of the musicians. Everything is professional and the voice of Frank Brennan is just perfect for the music of Old Season. I even doubt that it should be easy for you to find a better singer in the category. His voice is epic like the music, this is the kind of vocals which can give shivers. Also, I think that the keyboards are better with a better sound (less electronic) and a better mixing. No doubt for a first album, Old Season already gives a nice accomplished release.

If you're into Doom and Epic Heavy Metal, Archaic Creation is a must. I have the feeling that this band could even become a lot more famous soon because after all they know how to do good music and they're great musicians and singer. Don't wait anymore time guys and gals, this album must be checked, I say it again but this is one of the best releases of the year in the genre! Rock on!
www.truemetal.it (85/100)
Gli Old Season sono una band nata a Dublino nel 2003 dalle ceneri dei Karnayna. Dopo diversi show suonati in Irlanda, nel 2005 pubblicano il loro primo EP dal titolo Volume One, che li porta a suonare su palchi decisamente importanti a supporto di band del calibro di Skyforger, Obituary e Anvil. Dopo le solite vicissitudini che portano la formazione a cambiare ripetutamente, nel 2008 la lineup della band si stabilizza e compone il materiale che andrà a formare la sua seconda release, ovvero l’album Archaic Creationdi cui stiamo per parlare.

Il primo particolare che salta all’orecchio ascoltando Archaic Creation è la qualità di ogni singola traccia, sia a livello di songwriting, sia a livello di produzione, la quale non ha nulla da invidiare a dischi di gruppi ben più famosi con tanto di major internazionale alle spalle. Il genere proposto dal sestetto irlandese è un heavy metal molto personale tendente a volte verso lidi power; in ogni caso, la melodia delle singole tracce è sempre la chiave di volta che sorregge tutta la struttura. Il cantato non è la solita voce acuta e spensierata, anzi, in molte occasioni riesce a trasmettere perfettamente la malinconia di cui tutto il disco è impregnato. Negli intermezzi più lenti e struggenti sembra di essere di fronte a brani estratti dagli ultimi lavori dei Nevermore: infatti, la voce del cantante Frank Brennan è molto simile a quella di Warrel Dane e riesce a dare la giusta enfasi ad ogni traccia. La parte strumentale è comunque ben strutturata e originale, a partire dai riff di accompagnamento fino agli assoli sempre perfetti e mai scontati.

L’album apre con l’epica Meet me on the Battlefield, brano che da subito ci fa comprendere davanti a che tipo di lavoro ci troviamo: denso di emozioni e pathos, caratteristiche che ultimamente pochi dischi riescono a portare in evidenza. Altro episodio di rilievo è The Mission, canzone che inizia con uno struggente arpeggio di chitarra e la malinconica voce di Brennan a supporto, per poi crescere e diventare un mid tempo potente e melodico allo stesso tempo. Un accenno va fatto anche sulla conclusiva A Soldier's Song, mini suite da sette minuti di pura poesia, con il talento della band in evidenza ad ogni nota. Un debutto con i fiocchi questo Archaic Creation che, stranamente, ancora non ha trovato un’etichetta per la distribuzione. In ogni caso il disco è acquistabile sul sito web della band e vale la pena di essere ascoltato molte volte, perché non stufa o annoia. Sicuramente questi ragazzi faranno molta strada e l’attesa per il prossimo disco si fa già da ora spasmodica.
www.cloakndagger.gr
Ιρλανδία… Μια χώρα που πρέπει να ομολογήσω ότι ανέκαθεν κέντριζε το ενδιαφέρον μου. Ίσως γιατί κατά τη γνώμη μου παρουσιάζει αρκετά παρόμοια στοιχεία στην πρόσφατη ιστορία της, την κουλτούρα της και το χαρακτήρα των κατοίκων της με τη δική μας χώρα. Όπως η Ελλάδα, έτσι και η Ιρλανδία πέρασε μακρά περίοδο φτώχειας. Φτώχεια που οδήγησε (ενισχυμένη από άλλους παράγοντες) σε μετανάστευση ενός μεγάλου μέρους του πληθυσμού της κατά τους προηγούμενους αιώνες. Όπως και η Ελλάδα, διχάστηκε και διχάζεται για αιώνες σε ανόητους θρησκευτικούς πολέμους με αποτέλεσμα να έχουν χυθεί ωκεανοί αίματος και ακόμη και σήμερα στην κοινωνία της να επιβιώνουν προκαταλήψεις που πηγάζουν από τα άλλα μεγάλα καρκινώματα του χριστιανισμού (μαζί με την ορθοδοξία), το καθολικό και το προτεσταντικό δόγμα. Η σύγχρονη Ιρλανδία θυμίζει λίγο πολύ την Ελλάδα. Η οικονομική κρίση έχει φέρει τη χώρα στα πρόθυρα της χρεοκοπίας και ζητείται ελπίδα..

Πιο ειδικά τώρα, οι ομοιότητες δε σταματάνε ούτε στο χώρο του heavy metal. Η Ιρλανδία παρά την πολύ μικρή απόστασή της από την κοιτίδα του heavymetal, την Αγγλία, υπήρξε κατά τη δεκαετία του 1980 μία χώρα ανύπαρκτη χεβυμεταλλικά. Δε μπορώ να δώσω ικανοποιητική εξήγηση σε αυτό. Νομίζω ότι θα ήταν υπερβολικό να συνδέσω την παραδοσιακή αντιπάθεια των (κατά κύριο λόγο καθολικών) Ιρλανδών με τους (κατά κύριο λόγο προτεστάντες) Άγγλους. Ούτε και το χαμηλό βιοτικό επίπεδο της Ιρλανδίας κατά τη δεκαετία του 1980 εξηγεί ικανοποιητικά την ανυπαρξία της στο heavy metal εφόσον ειδικά στην Αγγλία (αλλά και στην Αμερική και την υπόλοιπη Ευρώπη) το heavy metal τη συγκεκριμένη δεκαετία αναπτύσσονταν στις φτωχογειτονιές των πόλεων ως αντίδραση των νέων στο κατεστημένο.

Τα πράγματα στην Ιρλανδία, όπως και στην Ελλάδα, άλλαξαν από τα μέσα της δεκαετίας του 1990 και μετά και ειδικά την πρώτη δεκαετία του 21ουαιώνα. Το έναυσμα δόθηκε με τη στροφή των Primordial σε πιο επικό ήχο. Οι Primordial ξεκίνησαν ως μια black metal μπάντα αλλά το ανήσυχο μουσικά πνεύμα του ηγέτη τους Alan Nemtheanga δε φαινόταν να ικανοποιείται από αυτό με αποτέλεσμα τα ψήγματα επικότητας των πρώτων κυκλοφοριών τωνPrimordial να οδηγήσουν το 2000 στο εκπληκτικό Spirit The Earth Aflame. Τα ψήγματα epic metal πλέον δίνουν τη θέση τους σε ψήγματα black metal. Πλήρη αντιστροφή στον ήχο. Με τους Primordial (που ούτως ή άλλως απευθύνονται σε πιο ευρύ κοινό) ως σημαία λοιπόν άρχισαν να ξεπετάγονταιheavy metal μπάντες από την Ιρλανδία η μία μετά την άλλη. Επίσης, οι Ιρλανδοί άρχισαν να θυμούνται το παγανιστικό παρελθόν τους και την τεράστιαfolk κουλτούρα τους που ο χριστιανισμός προσπάθησε αλλά δεν κατάφερε να εξαλείψει. Με αποτέλεσμα όλη αυτή η έκρηξη του heavy metal να συνοδευτεί από αντίστοιχες επιδράσεις μουσικά και στιχουργικά (άπειρες αναφορές στην κέλτικη μυθολογία, folk σημεία και μουσικά όργανα, κτλ). Έτσι προέκυψαν συγκροτήματα όπως οι Mourning Beloveth, Mael Mórdha, Old Season, Darkest Era (από τη Βόρειο Ιρλανδία), κτλ. Παράλληλα, το Ιρλανδικόheavy metal κοινό δίνει δυναμική παρουσία στα φεστιβάλ του χώρου και στηρίζει τη μουσική με κάθε τρόπο. Από τις στάχτες των Karnayna (μιας folk doom/death μπάντας) λοιπόν γεννιούνται οι Old Season το 2003. Το μικρόφωνο αναλαμβάνει ο κιθαρίστας καιclean vocalist των Mourning Beloveth, Frank Brennan και ένα χρόνο αργότερα έρχεται το αυτοχρηματοδοτούμενο ντεμπούτο τους με την ονομασίαVolume One που από το εναρκτήριο κομμάτι του, And Sands She Turned For Time, ξετινάζει τα αυτιά του γράφοντος. Ακολουθεί ένα φανταστικό live στοUnderworld, ως support στους Battleroar, στα τέλη του 2005 και ένα εξίσου φανταστικό live στο Up The Hammers II festival το 2007 στο οποίο είχαμε ακούσει και κομμάτια (Meet Me On The Battlefield, The Mission) από την επερχόμενη, τότε, κυκλοφορία τους (και ήδη τρίβαμε τα χέρια μας).

Χρειάστηκε να περάσουν άλλα δύο χρόνια όμως και η μπάντα να αλλάξει σύνθεση κατά το ήμισυ για να δει το φως της ημέρας ο δεύτερος δίσκος τους με τίτλο, Archaic Creation. Με νέο κιθαρίστα, μπασίστα και ντράμερ λοιπόν οι Old Season μας παρουσίασαν το δεύτερο πόνημά τους. Ο δίσκος ξεκινά με το εκπληκτικό Meet Me On The Battlefield και αμέσως σε βάζει στο νόημα για το τι θα ακολουθήσει. Αυτό που προκαλεί εντύπωση από την αρχή είναι η ποιότητα των συνθέσεων. Ίσως τελικά οι αλλαγές στη μπάντα να έκαναν καλό εφόσον το επίπεδο των συνθέσεων έχει ανέβει κατακόρυφα. Κιθαριστικά η πρόοδος είναι σημαντική. Εξαιρερικά solos τονίζουν τη διάχυτη μελαγχολικότητα του δίσκου και τα riffs διαδέχονται το ένα το άλλο. Η φωνή του Frank είναι μαγευτική. Στα αυτιά μου ακούγεται σαν έναν πιο μελωδικό Deathmaster (Doomsword) Η χροιά της φωνής του κρύβει ένα τρομερό heavymetal feeling. Μην περιμένετε δηλαδή δακρύβρεχτες μελωδίες αλλά συναίσθημα που μόνο το αληθινό heavy metal ξέρει να προσφέρει. Οι αρκετές folkεπιρροές του ντεμπούτου εξαλείφονται κάτι όμως που δεν αφαιρεί από το σύνολο. Για άλλη μια φορά τα πλήκτρα του maestro Dermod Smyth (σ.σ. τι παιδί κι αυτό…) είναι πανέμορφα και ποτίζουν το δίσκο με μελαγχολία δίνοντας το δικό τους στίγμα στις συνθέσεις. Πραγματικά πιστεύω ότι τα πλήκτρα είναι η μυστική δύναμη του δίσκου γιατί είναι τόσα σε ποσότητα και τόσο όμορφα ηχητικά που το τελικό αποτέλεσμα να μη γίνεται ούτε πολύ δακρύβρεχτο ούτε και υπερβολικά διακριτικό. Οκτώ συνθέσεις λοιπόν, η μία καλύτερη από την άλλη, και 48 λεπτά γεμάτα heavy metal που κοιτάζει στο παρελθόν αλλά απευθύνεται στο μέλλον. Ειλικρινά δε μπορώ να ξεχωρίσω κάποιο κομμάτι, ο δίσκος ακούγεται μονομιάς. Και τίποτε δεν είναι εκεί χωρίς να πρέπει να είναι. Σε σχέση με το ντεμπούτο τους δηλαδή νομίζω ότι η συγκεκριμένη κυκλοφορία υπερτερεί σε όλα τα σημεία. Η εξάλειψη των folkσημείων έδωσε τη θέση της σε πιο heavy metal φόρμες ποιοτικά ανώτερες ενώ και η φωνή του Frank ακούγεται πιο δεμένη, πιο γεμάτη.

Το μοναδικό αρνητικό της συγκεκριμένης κυκλοφορίας δεν αφορά τη μουσική αλλά τη διανομή του δίσκου. Για άλλη μία φορά πρόκειται για ανεξάρτητη κυκλοφορία κάτι που μου προκαλεί μεγάλη έκπληξη. Αναρωτιέμαι πως γίνεται στα 5 χρόνια που μεσολάβησαν από την κυκλοφορία του Volume Oneκαι τις αρκετές συναυλίες που έδωσε το συγκρότημα να μην κατάφερε αυτή η μπάντα να βρει μια δισκογραφική εταιρεία. Δε γίνεται (ακόμη και στην Ελλάδα πλέον) να κυκλοφορούν καθημερινά άπειρα μουσικά “σκουπίδια” και να μη βρίσκει δισκογραφική στέγη μια μπάντα με αναμφισβήτητη ποιότητα όπως οι Old Season. Ελπίζω απάντηση στον προβληματισμό μου να μου δώσουν τα ίδια τα μέλη της μπάντας σε επερχόμενη συνέντευξη.

Όπως και να έχει, το Archaic Creation είναι μία από τις καλύτερες κυκλοφορίες του 2009 στο χώρο και αξίζει να είναι ψηλά στα playlists όλων τωνmetalheads. Εμπιστευτείτε το άφοβα και γράψτε στη μπάντα (http://www.oldseason.com/, http://www.myspace.com/oldseason) να παραγγείλετε τοCD. Δε θα χάσετε.
www.oblivion.de 7.5/10
Das Nebenprojekt von Frank Brennan, hauptmuckerlich Gitarrist der Doom-Deather Mourning Beloveth, bei Old Season jedoch hinterm Mikro platziert, gibt sich erneut die Ehre. Vier Jahre sind seit dem Erscheinen des Debüts ins Land gezogen, und im Vergleich zum streng auf 666 Einheiten nummerierten „Volume 1“ lässt sich auch tatsächlich ein Unterschied ausmachen, was wahrscheinlich der zu 50% umgekrempelten Mannschaft und sicher der deutlich besseren Produktion geschuldet ist. Mit dem ausladend urwüchsigen, archaischen Doom-Death von Mourning Beloveth haben die Iren nach wie vor nichts am Hut; Old Season sind tief im traditionellen Heavy Metal verwurzelt und gehen um einiges kontrollierter und geplanter zu Werke, ohne jedoch auf epische Elemente zu verzichten. Die acht durchweg straff arrangierten Kompositionen erinnern, auch dank Franks inzwischen auch bei seiner Hauptband sporadisch eingesetzter, im Vergleich zu „Volume I“ stark verbesserter Stimme, nicht selten an das letzte Doomsword-Album, wobei das Riffing weit melodischer ausgerichtet ist. Die Keyboards von Dermod Smyth verstärken die epische Komponente des Bandsounds, sind für meinen Geschmack jedoch etwas zu allgegenwärtig und in den Vordergrund komponiert, was einigen Breaks den Biss nimmt und ihnen unfreiwillig eine etwas behäbige Note verleiht („A Soldier’s Song“). Auch textlich huldigt man typischen Epic-Themen, und so besingt Frank mit unverkennbarem Pathos blutige, verlustreiche Schlachten und dunkle Mythen. Höhepunkt von „Archaic Creation“ ist der Mittelteil mit einem bärenstarken Dreizack, bestehend aus dem von einem unwiderstehlichen Riff vorangetriebenen und Maiden-Harmonien veredelten „Prowler“ (KEIN Maiden-Cover), dem schleppenden Banger „Bitter Is The Wind“ und dem majestätisch-pathetischen „At The Hollow“ (letzterer Song ist auf der myspace-Seite der Band vertreten), wo Old Season alle Register ihrer Interpretation des Epic-Metal und auch rifftechnisch mächtig vom Leder ziehen. Insgesamt ist „Archaic Creation,“ gerade für eine Eigenproduktion, ein richtig starkes Album mit mehr Höhen als Tiefen geworden, das sich sowohl True- als auch Epik-Metaller ruhig mal zu Gemüte führen sollten. Abzugreifen für 12 Euro plus P &P auf http://oldseason.com oder über http://www.myspace.com/oldseason
Hell Bent For Metal Zine
Old Season – “Archaic Creation” ( Self-released, 2009)
Ancient Creation is plain awesome. So was Volume One before it and this most recent release from the Old Season host certainly follows the road its predecessor had started on. The grandiose keyboard lines are very much the driving point of the album, which might backfire somewhat as I think they are a bit too forward in the mixing, leaving the bass and guitar behind, and this takes some fight out of the sound. Unfortunately for any nay sayers of this Epic band, I’m sorry but that’s where it stops for me as far as nitpicking goes. “Meet Me On The Battlefield” clearly sets the album off on the right note and Frank Brennan’s voice is simply ace: wailing, soaring and powerful! There’s clearly a lot of thought put into creating the right “march-like” atmospheres in here rhythm-wise, but the presence of the keyboards and Brennan’s voice give it the “legendary-stuff” feeling, so each song seems like a tale coming from ages long past, something much helped by the dreamy and spacy solos in here. My personal favourite would be “Bitter is the Wind” or “Soldier’s Song”, the monumental closer for this deftly-crafted opus!
Loud! Magazine (Portugal)
"Da Irlanda chega o segundo registo dos OLD SEASON, que praticam um metal guerreiro com um toque muito pessoal. Mais nostálgico que marcial, mais contemplativo que destrutivo, «The Archaic Curse» é precisamente o que o título deixa adivinhar. Aquele metal com um som que tem um travo muito forte a insularidade, como é típico noutras bandas provenientes da mesma ilha ou até das regiões autónomas portuguesas. A diferença aqui é que se trata de um doom mais tradicional, com uma presença forte das guitarras (o final de «The Mission» é o melhor exemplo) e um vocalista que assume finalmente todas as suas qualidades, cuja voz muitos de vocês devem reconhecer das partes cantadas (e não grunhidas) dos Mourning Beloveth. As teclas começam por ofuscar de certa maneira as músicas, mas posteriores audições ajudam a integrá-las no seu papel real. Com momentos muito bons (a atmosfera pagã de «Heathen’s Dance») e outros ainda melhores, casos de «The Prowler», um grande tema de heavy metal e «A Soldier’s Song», um épico de chorar por mais, este disco pode ser apreciado por quem gosta de música menos directa mas que escapa à muito empolada vertente da auto-obstipação: www.oldseason.com"

Volume One Reviews

www.doom-metal.com (Promo CD Review)
Hailing from Ireland, Old Season is a metal band that has lots of experience. Thay have been active for a long time under the name of Karnayna. When they finally managed to have a stable line-up since 2001, they changed their name to Old Season (originally the name of one of their very first compositions).

Frank Brennan (also guitarist/vocalist with Masters of Doom and Mourning Beloveth) features in the current Old Season line-up and his characteristic and melodic way of singing is one of the stronger elements in this band's music. Old Season play a special type of metal, a mixture of classic heavy metal with melancholic atmospheres and doomy parts. The music has melancholic and emotional elements that were influenced by bands such as Tiamat and Amorphis while still being strong and heavy and carrying the flame of classic metal bands such as Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden. There are parts in the band's songs where the tempo gets really slow and the music is strengthened with melancholic keyboards. Keyboards, in my opinion, are one of the best elements in the final musical result of Old Season. However, the listener will encounter groovier parts in the faster tempos when the guitars are getting wild.

I should mention something about the vocals as well. As I have already pointed out, the vocals of Frank Brenman are so characteristic, melodic and to the point that anyone into Old Season's music will love them from the first listening. Frank has the ability to translate his own mournful stories into a special way of singing. The vocal melodies that Frank sings fit very well with the whole musical background. Well, in a few words here we have something really interesting. The listener will enjoy Old Season when they dive into melancholic lakes of music or even when they decide to be faster or groovier -reminding me in some specific parts another Irish band, Primordial. They have the ability to mix all their influences into a unique final music result. From Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, to Tiamat, Amorphis and Primordial. The sure thing is that their music is melancholic and very melodic. Please note that this EP is used for promotional reasons and that their full length will be released soon.
www.hellridemusic.com
Quite a nice surprise here. I'd heard good things about this band, but I'm sure we've all had the experience of hearing good things and then upon actually listening...eeerrmmm..it's just O.K. Well these Irish lads exceeded expectations by a healthy margin. Imagine Doomsword moving towards epic melodic doom metal with a pinch of Celtic folk, bringing a vibe like a windswept seaside Irish graveyard at sunset on a stormy day. There are a lot of significantly softer, melodic moments on this skillfully entwined with full out metal riffing and mournful lead passages. Whereas that might usually be cause for worry, in this case it works brilliantly, the strength of the compositions making transitions natural even when there is a significant change in style very quickly. An at once sorrowful and epic feel permeates the melodies. Seriously these guys have gotten so right melody and melancholic vibe wise what a plethora of slow death goth bands shot for and widely missed.

It's hard to pick out either musicianship stand outs or favorite songs as consistency is one this albums many virtues. All six musicians (and yes I'm counting the singer, because the vocals are definitely another instrument here) play from one heart, no mean feat with six members. Song writing is well above average throughout with "And sands she turned for time" and "A Divine Plague" being narrow favorites due to stellar transitions from soft melodic passages into solid metal riffing. But as soon as I begin to think those are my favorites "The Sky Burns" and "A Dwindling Seed" with their growth from Celtic influenced openings into powerful epic melodic doom have me reconsidering.

The only real drawbacks are small. I'd would have loved to hear a fuller, more powerful production, this band really deserves that. And it wouldn't be amiss to beef up the rhythm guitar sound a tad and maybe set the keys back a bit (but that part is porbably just personal taste). Small complaints really on an over all stunning debut. This one is probably going to be a top ten this year for me. Get writing because it's limited to 666 copies.
www.metal-invader.com
Old Season - Volume One [featured album]
(Self-Released) Total Time: 38:45

Despite the fact that it came highly recommended from a friend, it was with a lot of hesitation that I bought this CD. You see the only thing I knew about OLD SEASON is that their singer is Frank Brenner, MOURNING BELOVETH's guitarist, and MOURNING BELOVETH's music is certainly not my cup of tea, nor I have the slightest interest in their sound. Well, being listening to OLD SEASON's debut for two weeks now I am very glad I bought this album, as it has nothing to do with MB, and it is a great album indeed!

OLD SEASON's music is not easily classified, the best I can come up with is epic doom-drenched melodic Heavy Metal with atmospheric elements and Celtic folk touches. Normally, the mentioning of the word atmospheric in the same sentence with the words Doom and Metal is enough to give me an allergic shock, because it usually WRONGLY brings in mind MY DYING BRIDE style crap, but not in the case of OLD SEASON. In fact, trying to describe OLD SEASON's sound, the bands that come to mind as main influences are "Into Glory Ride" period MANOWAR (just listen to the second track "Mortals of Mettle" and you'll see what I mean), CANDLEMASS, at points DOOMSWORD, and as far as the atmospheric element is concerned "Wildhoney" period TIAMAT. Combining elements from the aforementioned bands in different doses OLD SEASON come up with a personal sound and the result is really magnificent! Long epic compositions, very powerful and majestic still, not of the barbaric variety but rather more fragile and melancholic, like if it represents a lull in the fighting, during which the warriors thoughts and emotions take the place of the battle's mayhem.

I think it is meaningless to refer to any track in particular as all six compositions are of the same very high quality, and that's what makes this album a grand one, it's a highlight from start to finish. All songs are characterized by wonderful melodies, powerful and emotional at the same time. Frank Brenner's clean melodic vocals are an excellent match to the music, and the wonderful guitar riffs in particular. My only complain regarding this glorious album lies in the extensive use of keyboards. While the keys most of the time add to the epic feeling of this album, there were points I felt they should be confined to a secondary, supporting role, discretely enhancing the atmosphere instead of being a major player. I wouldn't say that they ever become disturbing, more likely I think they are at points unnecessary or redundant for this musical style; then again this is only my personal opinion.

Concluding, I think that OLD SEASON came up with an impressive album and that the Irish five-piece has huge potential and we should really follow them closely for more outstanding releases in the future. Actually, I believe that "Volume One" is one of the highlights of the year and will most probably have a place in my year's top ten releases, close to PRIMORDIAL's "The Gathering Wilderness" - the other great Heavy Metal offering from the Emerald Isle in 2005. Therefore, CONGRATULATIONS to OLD SEASON for this release, and no offense, but I think that Frank Brenner should seriously consider leaving MOURNING BELOVETH to focus on OLD SEASON, something infinitely better and much more worthy and original.

Reviewer: Themis Pamfilos
Rating: 5/6
www.metal-obersver.com
The second of the bands I've nominated for this month's "The Metal Observer" "Unsigned Band of the Month" are a step up from FALLEN. FALLEN are the band with limitless potential who could and should make a name for themselves by building upon what they have and creating something earth shattering. OLD SEASON however are the band who already have created something earth shattering and if there is any justice in the world this release will catapult them to global success (well in Metal terms at least) and critical acclaim.

In terms of style OLD SEASON draw on some wide ranging influences, with elements of MANOWAR, TIAMAT and CANDLEMASS, for example, being heard by this reviewer. The package as a whole, however, is something quite unique to OLD SEASON themselves, as they've crafted a melancholic and melodic form of Doom that can be emotionally draining and incredibly epic yet, in a split second, can change to something more earthy and rousing. Elements of Doom and traditional Heavy Metal genres placed into melodic ballad format, all blended together to create a new entity that promises to take the Metal world by storm.

My only previous experience with OLD SEASON was in the live arena which is truly where they belong. Frank Brennan (of MOURNING BELOVETH fame) has a voice that is capable of stopping time and making you forget just where you are and what you're doing and leaving you totally captivated by the sheer emotive majesty of his pipes. Furthermore, the keyboards are often a little on the loud side live which, although can be distracting, allowed the full nature of their genius to shine through. Each melody is simply perfect.

On CD however, I've finally gotten to hear and appreciate the individual efforts of the band members in their crafting and delivery of some of the most compelling pieces you're likely to hear labelled "Heavy Metal." Opener "And Sands She Turned For Time" is among the best ballad tracks I've heard in my entire life. Frank's voice really twists the old heart strings and the epic nature of the keyboards really adds to the deeply melancholic mood.

Variation is shown in the next track, the live favourite, "Mortals Of Mettle" with its strong leanings towards Heavy Metal mastery in the vein of MANOWAR. The rousing "Whoh oh oh oh" sections and pulsing riffage really makes this an undeniable Heavy Metal classic and, in all honesty, it is probably my favourite track on the release. It's just too damn infectious. The slightly more light-hearted and catchy nature of this track is explored again in "The Claw" which also introduces some Celtic overtones.

"A Divine Plague" is another fantastic ballad that has one of the most compelling vocal sections that I've ever heard (particularly live). When "The Sky Burns" slowly approaching the two minute mark of the song it has a truly beautiful vocal and melody. The general nature of the song is very like "A Divine Plague" before it, but more Metal and less ballad. There is however a nice little piano piece in the midst of the track and a return a really mournful melody to close.

The closing track, which re-introduces the Celtic element with the opening riff, is another superbly strong Heavy Metal masterpiece. "A Dwindling Seed" showcases all of what OLD SEASON is about, namely music that is full of epic melodies, exquisite harmonies, sublime riffage and an amazing voice. All of which is wrapped up in moody atmospheres which possess more light-hearted overtones. Simply put, "Volume 1" is a masterpiece and if it's an indication of future things to come then I can't wait for Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and however many others they decide to release. (Online July 1, 2005)

Live Reviews

http://www.clickitticket.com/very-cool-heavy-metal-bands-to-see-live/
Old Season leans toward lengthy and elaborate recordings. Despite the complexity of their catalog, they manage to faithfully recreate their sound in concert. They have a charisma and presence that few bands can surpass. Seeing them live is a real treat.

Coming to us from Ireland, Old Season’s roster includes Jimmy Blanchfield, John Bonham, Dave Copley, Jimmy Kiernan, Dermod Smyth, and Anto Walsh. Their first full-length studio album, Archaic Creation, came out in 2009.
Metal-Temple.com : Lineup: Old Season + Wrathblade and Battleroar
Old Season: Now here’s a band I really looked forward to seeing on stage (though I didn’t expect to do so in such a short time). Their debut album (check the review here) found its way into my hands and I instantly fell in love with it! I was wondering how on earth they would be able to recreate the album’s sound on stage. Well, let me tell you something, not only did they manage to come clean but now I dear say that the album’s production really steals away a lot of their abilities. You see, Old Season on stage really kick ass. Not only do they manage with ease to perform their lengthy compositions, they also have a massive presence. Led by the AMAZING vocalist Frank Brennan, the band (who didn’t stopped for a moment to do the Irish dance - cool) performed the majority of the album’s songs like "And Sands She Turned For Time", "The Claw", "A Divine Plague" but also played two brand new songs "Meet Me On The Battlefield" and "Forever Damned" (not sure about the second song’s title). Let me just say that "Meet Me On The Battlefield" can easily become the new "Out In The Fields"!!! in conclusion Old Season really kicked the shit out of us. Can I see them live a couple more times please?
-metal-temple.com
DOD 2008
It seems like years have passed since the last Old Season live performance, and the crowd that gathers to see them is all the proof one needs to know these guys are extrememly admired in the Irish metal scene. Mixing classic tracks with newly penned epics, it quickly becomes clear that the highly-anticipated “Archaic Creation” is going to be an absolute belter. The band make the most of their 35-minute set by cramming as many songs in as possible, without sacrificing vocalist Frank’s entertaining between-song banter. Although ‘Mortals Of Mettle’ predictably gets the biggest crowd reaction (and it is indeed a seriously rocking reaction) it’s new song ‘Prowler’ that is far and away the best song aired tonight. Heavy but melodic, with an absolutely killer riff, and keyboards purposely low in the mix, it is set to be the standout track on the new album. Great to catch Old Season again, and even greater to see them on such top form.
- Donal McBrien
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Brian Browne Trio - Blue Browne