Skulthor Ebonblade, the concept album by doom metallers Temptation’s Wings, is due for release on 10th March. The album is a self release. The vocals are reminiscent of Disturbed.
The story of the album is about legendary warrior Skulthor who returns to find his village burning in black flames, and catches a glimpse of a witch as she disappears behind the smoke. He sets off on a quest to obtain a sword of great power (Ebonblade), so he can avenge his clan but loses his humanity along the way only to have to rediscover it to ultimately obtain revenge he sought all along. The story would make a great real time strategy game, or even a movie.
Skulthor Ebonblade opens with Burning of Hjalmar, an instrumental track that tells the tale of the warrior discovering his home village burning. The album really kicks into gear in the next track, I Destroyer. Musically there are lots of different themes as the track evolves over the five and a half minutes it plays for.
Into the Maelstrom contains plenty of instrumental sections, showing the diversity Temptation’s Wings, as they don’t need to solely rely on lyrics to tell a story. The epic 7 minute 46 second To Forge A Legend (Ulfberht) also has solid instrumental sections, but each section evolves like I Destroyer did.
The first really different track is Lair Of The Gorgon Queen, which starts off with clean broken chords on guitar, before adding in the distortion and other effects with the typical metal chug. The different musical themes are tied together really well by Temptation’s Wings and this is one of the best tracks on the album.
By the time the listener is halfway through the album they are invested in the story and want a satisfactory ending. It’s not clear yet whether the hero will emerge victorious. Due to the lack of screamed vocals, even casual listeners would find something to enjoy in Skulthor Ebonblade.
The longest track at a whopping 9 minutes and 41 seconds is Witches of Dredmoor, however there is less musical evolution in this track than in previous tracks. Musically, this is the only track on the album that lets it down.
The final track, My Name Was Skulthor, opens with a gritty bassline that draws the listener’s attention back. This bassline continues throughout the track, keeping the listener focused. There are sections where it varies slightly, but the main theme is the same all the way through. There is even a bass solo about two thirds of the way through the track, which is really refreshing as most metal groups focus on guitar solos.
Although only an 8 track album, each track contains a lot of lyrical content to really move the story along. The majority of the tracks are also longer than the typical 3 minute songs that listeners are used to. A lot of different techniques are used in the performance of Skulthor Ebonblade, counterpoint, harmonising vocals and guitars, and the use of different dynamics are just a few examples.