Search :
« Back to all news

Ascension to the blessed halls

March 29, 2020
Isle Of The Cross - Excelsis

The Sacrifice song wastes no time in getting the record underway with a tech prog-death riff and a striking melody over the top, before settling down into a tech-death blitz, full of complexity and honed musicianship. Follow-up Tartarus begins in more of a progressive industrial black metal manner if I had to pin my colours to the mast. The title track of Isle Of The Cross - Excelsis album is much more epic and symphonic death metal with choral effects. That said, even with a four-minute song, the deviations are impressive with a harpsichord entering proceedings, followed by a lead trade-off between guitar and keyboards which lightens the mood.
The Wolf is then split into two parts, with part one, The Wolf, Pt. 1 (Invocation) just a minute-long quiet cinematic atmosphere setter. Part two, The Wolf, Pt. 2 (Sanctuary), however, features some nice riffs and charismatic lead guitars before introducing a death/nu-metal mash-up with impressive technical musicianship.
The head-scratching doesn’t end there though, because next up is Stars, a ballad of beautiful proportions where the vocals are clean, higher-pitched and ethereal. Empyrean initially seems to provide a route back into death metal realms with a frantic, heavy opening. However, before long, Paradigm tires of aggression and instead chooses more of an up-tempo symphonic power metal path, complete with female vocals. Breatheia, on the other hand, can only be described as a modern electronic prog-djent instrumental with post-rock minimalist tendencies at points.
Album then concludes with the three-part The 9th Circle, where there’s plenty more theatrical/cinematic soundscapes to be heard, including the opening The 9th Circle, Pt. 1 (Caina) film score part and the Rhapsody-like The 9th Circle, Pt. 2 (Judecca) with The 9th Circle, Pt, 3 (Inferno) spoken-word fantasy narration.