The album kicks off with a somehow evil and weird 1 minute introduction entitled The Place Where I Hide. The title track Gods of Vermin goes next, and the first noticeable thing is surely the great vocal work (backup vocals as well). A pattern which would be repeat itself throughout the album is also admirable (slow moody/spacey part followed by guitar solo then back to the song’s chorus).
A Blind Man’s Resolution starts off in a powerful progressive manner, supported by lovely vocals and symphonic power. The pattern stated earlier is present in this song as well (one of the album’s favorites). Fallen Family has also a great start, and shows a progressive side of the band as well which is very musically attractive. The vocal patterns appear weird at first but then the female vocals set the epic bar way up high. The Piper is mostly an acoustic nice calm song, still it works its way towards uplifting vocals alongside an evil effect as well. It has a nice guitar solo as well as great keys in the background.
Wheel Of Guilt starts acoustic as well, a bit more spacey than the others, but still with interesting drum lines, and progressive musical arrangement. There’s always that weird evil effect, especially with the vocals and the background keys. Still I personally thought that 8 minutes is too much for this song. Belial’s Tower is agressive and powerful, with those double pedals all over the place. Very interesting guitar work on this one! Fall of Byzanz is mostly lead by keyboards, and it also got a weird element to it, certainly not traditional, with the opera-like vocals giving the extra epic feel to it. (another favorite).
Wintersmith is a nice calm song on the album, with both female and male vocals on it. Dead Man’s Shadows has weird keys, intense vocals, great piano and guitar solos. It’s a 4 minute song that is not rushed at all. Sanatorium Song is a catchy metal song with headbang riffs and interesting vocals, wise guitar arrangements and the right set of mood to perfect it. Third Moon Rising has a intro which is mystic and lovely, as well as the chorus with intense vocals all around. There are also noticeable acoustic parts after the song’s mid.
So overall, this album is surely a must to listen to. Would I personally rank it as one of the top progressive releases of the year? Perhaps not, but that’s what the band wanted in the first place, not to be pigeonholed in a single musical category, which will surely get many people with different tastes to like this release. Rating: 9/10
- Interview with Oliver Palotai
First, I’d personally like to welcome and thank you Oliver for this kind interview. We appreciate that here on LebMetal. For those who don’t know, Oliver has many many accomplishments (Check more of them on his official website www.palotai.de): -Keyboarder for Kamelot since 2005, Uli Jon Roth (2004-2005), Circle II Circle (2003-2004). -Keyboarder & guitarist of DORO (2001-present). -Guitarist of Blaze (2004-2007). -Official Yamaha artist, got a diploma for music teacher (2002) and professional musician (2003). -Studied classical piano, jazz guitar, jazz piano, composition, music production and arrangement.
- So after that small introduction, let’s start off by asking you about your reasons for creating this new supergroup named Sons of Seasons. Did you feel the need to express the many influences that you have (jazz, classical music, symphonic metal…) in a different band than Kamelot and Doro Pesch?
Kamelot and Doro are two bands which existed way before I joined. They have a special sound, a defined style and a certain way to write and produce songs. So, there is a clear frame set within every new member has to move. It is fun and a challenge to do that, but after years in many groups founded and run by other artists I needed my own musical playground without limits and restrictions. That was the main reasons to start Sons Of Seasons.
- Did you have any hard time forming the band and choosing the appropriate members, while paying attention to conflicts of schedule?
Sons Of Seasons was founded right after the whole line- up of Blaze Bayley, former singer of Iron Maiden, left due to conflicts with his new management. I was part of it, Daniel Schild, our drummer, as well, and he was a musician I always wanted to work with after we met each other in the Jazz scene. Jürgen Steinmetz from Silent Force, bassist, was the next one to join – he is South German like me and a very reliable person with a fantastic sound on his instrument. On a tour with Kamelot in Japan I heard Henning Basse singing, who was a stand- in for the band Firewind at this time. I was blown away by his performance and asked him to join Sons Of Seasons. After the recording of ‘Gods Of Vermin’ we needed another guitarist for the live concerts and found Pepe Pierez from Ancient Curse. Except Pepe we’re all full- time musicians and until Sons Of Seasons is not big enough to provide an income for every member, there will be some inevitable problems regarding the schedule. Especially Daniel and me are heavily touring. So here and there we might have to use some stand- ins but we will try everything to play with the original line- up as often as possible.
- “Gods of Vermin” is Sons of Seasons’ new release. How do you feel regarding the album and the reaction of the global metal press?
Honestly, I have never ever expected so many positive reactions. Especially the printed press gave really high ratings, and there were very few negative ones. Journalists tend sometimes to be tough on newcomers, and besides being long time in the scene, the band itself is indeed a newcomer band. But it was quite the opposite! ‘Gods Of Vermin’ needs quite some listening to get into and I know how many albums journalists review month per month, but the majority obviously really took the time to listen. I am very grateful for that.
- Tell us more about your opinion regarding ‘illegal sites’ which upload the album online, available for free download. Does that hurt the band or help to get its music to audiences who cannot buy an original copy of the album in the first place?
This is a tough subject and I admit that I had many fights about it. First of all, there might be a few positive things about illegal downloads. Indeed, people listen to our album which we would never be able to reach in the past, because in their countries the album is not available (while, for example, we send the album from our own web shop at sonsofseasons.com to EVERY country). That might in the end result in a few more people at our concerts, but that’s basically it. All in all the illegal downloads heavily damaged the music scene and they still do. So many label went bankrupt the past years, thousands of artists lost their contract and the fundament for their existence. When I talk to illegal downloaders I always hear some kind of ‘Robin Hood’ mentality, but there are no musicians & label managers with fat cigars, gold chains and Rolex watches. 90% of the musicians already lived at the income minimum before the crash, and if you would ever really experience how much time and money it needs to produce an album you would think twice about downloading illegaly. The worst, though, is the damage to the quality of the scene itself. Good music needs professional musicians. Very few can work a normal job and make music on a professional level. And the main function of a record label is to invest in those artists – for example, in Germany, no bank gives a loan to bands or musicians. What happens to a scene heavily threatened by illegal downloading you can see in the computer game scene – the companies cannot afford risks anymore and produce the same crap over and over, part 5, 6 or 12 of the same game, without innovations.
- The band welcomed many guest vocals appearances, especially by Epica’s Simone Simons. Will guest appearance always be a part of Sons of Seasons’ upcoming releases?
I love working with other artists, although for the next CD I want to work with more classical musicians, a string quartet, a percussionist and a bigger choir. We’ll see – it is a bit too early for concrete plans.
- Any words you’d like to say to this online community LebMetal and to many fans of your musical work?
My main advice is never to think in categories. Keep your ears open to new influences, new sounds, new tendencies out there. And, of course, I want to thank everybody who joins the growing community around Sons Of Seasons. On our forum we exchange opinions and the band listens closely.