Vesperia - The Iron Tempests (EP) (2015)

As cliche as it might seem, the growth of a band is so closely akin to the growth of a child that it is hard to ignore. From birth through infancy, and all the way to adulthood and death, every day is a step farther from the beginning and closer to the apex. In 2012, Vesperia was merely a toddler, having just learned to walk, but doing so in an uneasy fashion. The Swordsman was a demo with grand ideas, but lacking the production to make it work. A year later, An Olden Tale proved to be a band moving quickly into their prime, not only walking, but running at speeds once thought impossible. They'd honed their sound into one that is both unique and powerful. So much so, in fact, that they secured a spot in the legendary Wacken Open Air Festival. And with the new EP, The Iron Tempests, they are no longer looking ahead; their time is now.

The orchestrations have taken leaps forward, as is evident on the early stages of The Western Tempests. But even with the expanded presence of keys and strings, the heaviness of the instrumental has not wavered. With a full battery of adrenaline pumping percussion, this is as well rounded an attack as any army before. Swaying melodies and technically proficient rage move hand in hand, with mainman Morgan Rider vocal standing as the tone setter. But as good as it is, The Iron Saga may be the most complete track in the bands growing catalog. They hit all the marks here, from triumphant march to destructive plunder. Despite being recorded in a live setting, the accuracy with which the band delivers their sound is astonishing, reminding anyone who listens why a live Vesperia show is one to attend. That piece of synthesizer that runs throughout is the perfect binder for the track, elevating each movement. And to finish the EP with a mind melting cover of Grieg's In The Hall Of The Mountain King is no less than sublime.

We have no connection with the bands we've reviewed on this site over the last four years. Many have been open and friendly in discussing their albums with us, whether in formal interviews or just via e-mail. Others, not so much. But somehow, we get a great deal of enjoyment watching bands, new and old, find success in an increasing difficult music industry. Some do it the right way; hard work, endless touring, rehearsals day and night. Others merely get lucky. The members of Vesperia may own four leaf clovers, or a rabbit's foot, but there is no luck involved in the success they've garnered in the last year. Their fans have been able to sit back and watch the band grow before their very eyes and ears. And like proud parents, they can now see them off to their graduation. When they take the stage on July 29 in Germany, They move on to the next stage. They grow up so fast.


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