Norwegian prog-metallers Sarpedon, after some setbacks and line up changes, got together a finalised crew of six members to begin recording their sophomore full length release: Before The Nightingale Sings back in 2016. After a good few years of hard work, it is now, in the final quarter of 2019 that they unleash it upon the world.
The opening track 'Spiritual War' bursts to life with a clash of thrashy, chunky guitar, blasting drum beats and hard hitting cymbal smashing before vocalist Göran Nyström takes centerfold. His ability to hold long, beefy notes, is comparable immediately to that of Iron Maiden's famed Bruce Dickinson. 'Creeping Chaos' introduces slow, methodical guitar pluckings, before amping up with impressive vocal harmonies, alongside a hefty riff to bang your head to. 'The Enemy' raises the stakes further, with short, choppy bursts of guitarwork from Martin Langebraaten and Torgeir Krokfjord. The epic tones of the Daniel Hemtads keys, sure to please fans of classic power metal acts such as DragonForce, with a thrashy breakdown later in the song, are comparable even to the likes of the fabled Judas Priest.
There is a lot of sounds to be enjoyed on Before The Nightingale Sings, even for people who may feel less inclined towards more progressive or traditional metal acts, there's crossover into thrash, hardcore, and power metal territories. This statement is represented in bucketloads by 'Eye Of The Storm' and though Göran remains consistent in his singing style throughout, it's almost impossible not to at least nod your head along to its heavy groove. Even if it is coming from a headspace outside the bands genre. Each song manages to fluctuate in style just enough to keep the record from sounding repetitive, with something new thrown into the mix on each song, yet without departing from the overall style the band have set out to achieve. The opening moments of 'The Maelstrom' almost sounds like it could score a boss battle from the Final Fantasy series, feigning in with wistful instrumentals before exploding into a bubbling lava-pit or raging riffage and stringed grandeur.
Unfortunately, the vocal contributions on the final few tracks of the album detract somewhat from the musical compositions being put down here, an issue that only becomes prevalent in the latter half of the record. That's not to take anything away from Göran's vocal capability of course, he displays an impressive set of pipes throughout, but on 'The First Sun' and even segments of the albums final expenditure 'The Nightingale' it feels as though Sarpedon have tried to merge together the right pieces of two different jigsaw puzzles that just don't want to go together, despite being perfectly good pieces in their own right.
In defiance of this however, Before The Nightingale Sings is a record that is sure to sound colossal in a live music space. With its beefy guitar riffs coupled with moments of intricacy, impressive far reaching vocals, intensely rhythmic drum-work and valiant orchestral like keys, Sarpedon have created a record that should absolutely feel like an achievement within their discography. Now that they've battled through their early career turbulence, they have laid down the brickwork for even bigger and better things to come in their future.