Sometimes jumping into a new promo of a band I’m unfamiliar with is like jumping into the third season of Game Of Thrones without any knowledge of the previous two. This is the part where I would make some witty reference to something that happened in those seasons but I don’t watch so I can’t. You get where I’m going with that, though, right? Howzabout this: it’s like if I read Eclipse before reading Twilight (Because Eclipse is the third book in the series).
But I digress.
Take Cold Kingdom, for example. I press “play” and immediately dig the tunes without first reading the press release (Which I will, eventually!) then peep the accompanying video for “A New Disaster” and see that, oh hey, this is not the original singer fronting the band. Do I go back so I have a frame of reference for the review or just push forward. I chose the latter because life’s too short, y’know? And the beauty of Into the Black Sky is that the album stands on its’ own so that fans, too, can focus on the present.
After the solemn, piano-driven “Under the Surface” preludes the oncoming storm the ruckus comes correct when “Desire” explodes amidst furious guitar shreds and pummeling percussion from Evan Ogaard and Chris Morley respectively. Add the debut of vocalist Elissa Pearson and you have a recipe for some wicked hard rawk. Then there’s the epic breakdown that happens within and a song that was already a stellar intro to Cold Kingdom 2.0 becomes something even better.
“Devil in Me” is just a maelstrom of those vicious guitar tones providing the perfect contrast to Pearson’s serene vocal delivery while “Left Me Haunted” brings to mind Within Temptation’s most recent opus with its’ sonic scope and Pearson’s bravado and range leading the charge. “Ammunition” adds more fuel to the sonic fire with Jason Michael’s bass sound shakin’ yer bones as the track builds to a fittingly huge chorus.
“After the Fall” slows it all down with a sweeping ballad that lets Pearson show off more of her vocal vocabulary with Collin Pearson creating a gorgeous synthetic atmosphere through the keyboard. Later, “Volatile” amps up the intensity as Morley’s pummeling beats drive this ditty into new live favorite territory with Ogaard’s guitar work and scorching solos pushing the song into Swedish Heavy Metal territory a la In Flames.
“Invisible” starts big (Think “We Are The Champions” or “Youth Of The Nation”) then goes bigger as Colin Pearson and his synths mesh with Ogaard’s guitars to create a wall of sound. Morley’s thunderous drumming highlights “In Your Shadows” before “A New Disaster” and “Fear Is Yet to Come” deliver a one-two punch of epic hard rawk excellence to close out the album.