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

Archaic Creation

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

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