Album: Onward (13th Anniversary Edition)
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Vision of God Records
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Album Length: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Towers of Ancient Wisdom (Original Remastered)
Onward (Original Remastered)
Cursed Fires of Gehenna (Original Remastered)
Occult Moon (Original Remastered)
Funeral Oath and Resurrection (Original Remastered)
Breed the Tyrants (Original Remastered)
Nocturnal Apparition (Original Remastered)
Enslaver of Hateful Souls (Original Remastered)
The Arduous Warpath (Original Remastered)
Silent Plagues (Original Remastered)
Caverns Of Grief (Original Remastered)
Ensemble of Perdition (Original Remastered)
Chanting the Last Passages (Original Remastered)
Towers of Ancient Wisdom (2021 Version Remastered)
Onward (2021 Version Remastered)
Cursed Fires of Gehenna (2021 Version Remastered)
Occult Moon (2021 Version Remastered)
Funeral Oath and Resurrection (2021 Version Remastered)
Breed the Tyrants (2021 Version Remastered)
Nocturnal Apparition (2021 Version Remastered)
Enslaver of Hateful Souls (2021 Version Remastered)
The Arduous Warpath (2021 Version Remastered)
Silent Plagues (2021 Version Remastered)
Caverns Of Grief (2021 Version Remastered)
Ensemble of Perdition (2021 Version Remastered)
Chanting the Last Passages (2021 Version Remastered)
Who should listen: Fans of Antestor, Frost Like Ashes, and Horde
Continuing his warm-up to releasing new material, Felipe Diez — Sorrowstorm — has released through Vision of God Records (opens new window) old material with a fresh coat of paint. Originally released 13 years ago, Onward, itself a re-releasing of material from 2002/03, was the last album from Sorrowstorm for more than a decade until earlier this year when he released three new songs and two updated old songs. Those updated songs from the Epoch of Exile (opens new window) EP forms the backbone of this updated version of Onward.
This is a looooong album. With 26 songs and almost 2½ hours of music, don’t expect to listen to this in one sitting. But really, there is no need to. The first disc, the one with the remastered original version, is there for collectors and those fans who were there for the original. For everyone else — and even the die-hard fans will appreciate this — the updated version of the songs is the only set of songs you really need to listen to. It’s not that the remastered originals are bad, it’s that the updated versions are better.
With cleaner production, clearer vocals and music, and shortening/lengthening of songs in key places, the updated version of Onward is a champ. It’s nice to have the remastered original version, but you will be more than fine if you only ever listen to the updates.
Because we are essentially listening to black metal from the early 2000’s, this album sounds like classic black metal. I was a big fan of Horde back in the day, and there were several times in this album that I was reminded of those glory days. With the updated recordings, Onward 13th has a classic black metal sound minus all the cluttered distortion that we are all familiar with from that era. It’s raw, but it’s fresh.
Sonically, and this is especially true if you listen to all 26 songs in a row, the album starts to sound a bit repetitive. The freshness and clean production of the updated songs on Epoch of Exile get lost when listening to the whole album straight through. This is unfortunate because the music is really solid. Still, mixing slower-paced music with traditional frenetic black metal mayhem gives variation and depth to the music.
When I look at the discography of Sorrowstorm I see a lot of repetition. Original material has been recycled more than once. While I understand why Vision of God would want to re-release classic Sorrowstorm on their own label, and why Sorrowstorm would want to update their music in the process, it is high time to move on to new material. Fortunately, Sorrowstorm has new music in the works, and for that, I eagerly wait. Epoch of Exile was an excellent EP; Onward 13th is a good album and is important for building a new fan base and bridging to the past, but I hope they lay this material down to rest.
That said, enjoy this blast from the past that reminds us of the good ol’ days of Christian black metal. You won’t go wrong listening to this beaut from Sorrowstorm!