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Sons of Seasons is a progressive symphonic metal band from Germany, formed by Oliver Palotai as an outlet for his songwriting in 2007. Their debut album, Gods of Vermin, was released in 2009, with a follow-up, Magnisphyricon, released in 2011.
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SONS OF SEASONS Gods of Vermin album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Gods of Vermin
Progressive Metal 2009
SONS OF SEASONS Magnisphyricon album cover 3.05 | 9 ratings
Progressive Metal 2011


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SONS OF SEASONS Magnisphyricon

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Magnisphyricon is the second album release from German metal band Sons of Seasons, which is led by Oliver Palotai (Kamelot, Doro). It was released in 2011. The music of Sons of Seasons is a combination of Symphonic, Progressive, and Power Metal, so there are a lot of styles going into this package. The band’s line-up has been expanded on the album to include Pepe Pierez as a second guitarist, but otherwise remains unchanged. Like with their debut album Gods of Vermin there is a guest vocal appearance from Epica’s Simone Simons.

The band first caught my attention with their debut Gods of Vermin and under false pretences. Being a fan of Epica, and seeing Simone Simons in the band pictures for Sons of Seasons, as well as appearing on the cover art for the special edition of the debut, I assumed that she’d joined a second band. Needless to say because it turned out she was only a guest I got off slightly on the wrong foot with the debut, and needed a few listens to really get into it, and even then it wasn’t the most impressive debut I’d ever heard. So cue Magnisphyricon, and my hopes that the band will be able to do better this time around.

To cut this review short, no they can’t. But I guess you’re going to want to know more about the album than that right? Well you will at least if you haven’t heard their music before, if you’re familiar with Gods of Vermin already then you can feel safe to stop reading with the knowledge that the album is neither better nor worse than its predecessor and breaks no new ground for the band. So if you liked Gods of Vermin, you’ll like this one to, providing that the fact that the band broke no new ground doesn’t bother you.

The album is a good one, but it just never becomes a great one and does seem to drag after awhile since it’s a pretty long album at over an hour. The main problem with the length is that aside from the surprisingly strong second from last track 1413 the band delivers the best compositions early on in the album with Bubonic Waltz, Soul Symmetry and Sanctuary (which is the song with Simone Simons lead vocals), and this doesn’t leave much to look forward to from therein. In all honesty for the amount of really good songs between the band’s first two records they probably have enough material for one solid album, but it seems so far that they are stretching themselves too thinly and much of Magnisphyricon has ended up as filler.

On that note it is worth pointing out that although there are fourteen tracks on the album, there are only actually eleven songs as the three songs that begin with Magnisphyricon (Temperance, Adjustment and The Aeon) are actually an intro and two interludes, the latter pair don’t even clock in at a full minute of music, and Magnisphyricon: The Aeon goes one better in that it doesn’t even reach thirty seconds. The intro track Magnisphyricon: Temperance works for what it is worth, being a symphonic intro piece for the album, but the other two are next to useless.

The musicianship is pretty good however. The core of the band’s sound is symphonic metal although they often strip it back to give more prominence to the heavy power metal riffing, and the progressive flairs in the music are a welcome addition as it allows some interest to be kept in what otherwise can be considered a mostly bland release. Henning Basse provides a good vocal, but in the latter half of the album the band starts incorporating some harsher vocals, which do not fit in with their style at all. The album ends on a duff note though with the ballad Yesteryears, making the Magnisphyricon experience very anticlimactic and the song is easily the most boring emotionless ballad on a metal album I ever came across.

There’s not really much more to say about Magnisphyricon. The album is not outright terrible or anything despite the need for some major trimming down, but if Gods of Vermin didn’t do anything for you I can’t see this one changing your mind. It’s enjoyable to a point, and the few standouts save it from total mediocrity, but I think the band is going to need to up their game a lot for their next album.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 6.2/10)

SONS OF SEASONS Magnisphyricon

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
[review originally published on]

This time it’s probably my fault for listening to Symphony X‘ just released new song Dehumanized prior to reviewing this album, but nothing at all can change my opinion Magnisphyricon is a grand, magniloquent, epic waste of (playing) time.

Symphony X‘ song isn’t even that great – all the worse for Sons of Seasons‘ sophomore release, meaning it doesn’t take much to outscore it. There’s a whole lot of things just not feeling right about it; so was my impression when I first listened to it (I must confess I did have some expectations about it), so is my opinion now I’ve made it through a more thorough second spin. Needless to say at this point, there will be no third.

I actually felt like Sons of Seasons did deserve more than one chance; after all, their debut Gods of Vermin wasn’t that bad, and I have to admit it displayed an overwhelming maturity for a rookie release. The sound was excellent, the production flawless as you’d expect, and the musicianship impeccable – also no surprise, Sons of Seasons being Kamelot keyboard player Oliver Palotai‘s own side project. What did hit me as a flaw back then, was what I felt like the album’s excessive complexity. I might’ve been misled by the rather down-to-earth proggy power metal his main band plays, but I found Palotai‘s intricacy hard to get through. The new album takes it further, failing me also the opposite way.

Let me elaborate. The song structure feels a lot more linear, and the blend of instruments far less symphonic than before, although this album still retains what I’d dub a “pretence of symphonism” all through it. To me, it’s sort of a failed attempt at a compact, kind of unifying sound. The album falls short of truly sounding symphonic, though the instruments are undoubtedly cleverly merged together: sort of a leftover from the previous album’s high intricacy, resulting in a far less convincing output. My lay impression is that just putting several kind of sounds together isn’t enough to form a self-sufficient entity. And this album is a proof to that.

The complexity is still to be heard in the multi-layered sound structure, with all the threads still showing the dangerous tendency of going their own way, at the risk for the album of falling apart. But, and here’s the difference from their previous, the choruses make an attempt at being “catchier” than before; they obviously fail at it, difficult as it is to link linear vocal lines to a complex jungle of background sound patterns already kind of fighting each other. As a result, the album sounds pretentious, far too ambitious, and it both fails at bringing it to a simpler level (if that ever was the intention), and at retaining the complexity of old. It’s all pretty much a hard fight between those two aspirations, and you’re left to question what exactly did the composers have in mind. Which direction did Sons of Seasons want to take their music? Do they stay stuck in the mud of a far too complex proposal to appeal to power metal fans (including Kamelot‘s, just for reference), or do they intend to lure them with the promise of easier-listening melodies, just to discard the premise abruptly when it also becomes clear they don’t actually want to move away from what made Gods of Vermin such a hard album to listen to?

You’re left to wonder, and that’s no good thing really. Each time a song starts off interestingly, like for example Soul Symmetry and Nightbirds Gospel do, it finally seems time for a straightening, except it soon turns out that’s not quite the intended way. The album couldn’t be more far-off from straightforward. This alone is of course not a problem: its predecessor wasn’t either, and it still pleased many a fan. What actually worries me more, is that Sons of Seasons haven’t gone an inch further in polishing off some of that unnecessary structural heaviness, and still they’re getting praised for what they’re playing. They certainly already developed what you may call a trademark sound; now whether that’s a good or a bad per se is very much debatable. Also, don’t get me wrong here: all who liked Gods of Vermin will find in Magnisphyricon a worthy successor; which is exactly what bothers me. The path Sons of Seasons set themselves onto at the beginning was to become a very promising one, provided they worked (hard) on polishing and simplifying their songwriting, on smoothening its edges may I say – which they of course didn’t at all.

THUS SPAKE THE CENNSOR: Magnisphyircon feels wrong and failed in many a way, starting from the title (are we serious? What’s that supposed to mean? That’s what you get when you toy with classic languages just ’cause it’s “cool”) to the actual music, which opens too many paths without ever deciding which to follow. Fans of Gods of Vermin are warmly advised to get it anyway, because they’re beyond doubt the intended audience. Fans of Palotai‘s (and Simone Simons‘: we all know there’s an undeniable fangirl-ism to being “fans” of such projects) are as well, because this is supposed to represent his skills as a musician and composer at their highest. This latter does sadden me a bit, but the world doesn’t revolve around the Cennsor‘s tastes – which is quite a relief. But, if you happen to fall anywhere near said despicable tastes, do yourself a favour and ignore this album outright. 5/10

SONS OF SEASONS Magnisphyricon

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Magnisphyricon" is the second release of Sons of Seasons, the brainchild of Kamelot's keyboardist, Oliver Palotai, which puts the band on a darker side of prog/power metal with a symphonic twist. Comprised of three instrumental introduction to each chapter and eleven tracks, this album was swelled with powerful voice of Henning Basse which not a surprise, he sounds a bit like Roy Khan, tense and black atmosphere rhythm, some killer shreds, and a slight unusual non-metal element such as jazz to spice up the composition.

After "Temperance" haunting intro, "Bubonic Waltz" kicks in with an old-fashion power metal style and continued with "Soul Symmetry". A track with a Queensryche and Fates Warning feel that walks swiftly with a dynamic tempo. The small growl and majestic chorus top off my first fave song of the album. "Sanctuary" was driven by piano, wrapped with an enchanting jazzy tinge, an unordinary track with the guest appearance of Simone Simons from Epica.

"Casus Belli I : Guilt's Mirror" sounds very dark and doomy, Basse's gigantic vocal steals the show, a good track but can't beat the fierceful rhythm on "Into The Void" and "Tales of Greed". "A Nightbird's Gospel" is probably the most progressive tune here, the arrangement is complex and they also implemented a harsh vocal technique. "Lilith" is brutally beautiful, the scream is frightening and the guitar shred is fantastic and aggressive. "Yesteryears" is an enchanting piano ballad, a beautiful track to close the album.

"Magnisphyricon" has its best moment but also suffers with several average tracks. Not all songs can match the greatness of upper tunes but the whole concept and story of this album is interesting to dig and explore. Musicianship is top notch, the production is excellent, and mostly fans of symphonic metal will find this album highly appealing, but I believe, if you like progressive and power metal, "Magnisphyricon" could be an enjoyable ride as well.

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