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Review: Silent Winter - Empire of Sins
Silent Winter
Empire of Sins

Label: Pride & Joy Music
Year released: 2021
Duration: 50:45
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: February 19, 2022
Reviewed by: Micah.Ram
Readers Rating
Empire of Sins

Rated 4.62/5 (92.31%) (13 Votes)

Although having been a band since 1995, Greece’s Silent Winter have only released two full-length albums at this time, and the first was 2019’s The Circles of Hell. Prior to that exists only an EP from 2018 and a couple of demos from the 1990s. The fact is that this band put on the brakes in 2001 and came back in 2018 with a completely new lineup, aside from the one remaining member that is guitarist and keyboardist Kiriakos Balanos. It seems that this lineup is the one to get work done, and thankfully so, as this material is solid.

What we have here on 2021’s Empire of Sins is a nice Heavy/Power Metal album with driving tempos, booming choruses and vocal lines, and great melodic guitar work with complete with nice leads and solos in all the right places. What really launches this album into high places is a combination of mature songwriting and the impressive vocal ability of Mike Livas, who also recorded vocals for the Blacksword album also released in 2021. I was a fan of his work in Blacksword, which is what led me to this album, and for anyone who has heard and enjoyed his work in Blacksword, this will equally satisfy. With Silent Winter he still possesses that intense energy, but he also has more opportunities here to add variety to his plan of attack and peel back the energy at times, such as with the slower track starting the back half of the album, "Where the River Flows," which despite being a slower number possesses plenty of interesting elements outside of the vocals with big guitar melodies.

Yes, the songwriting is great on this album. There is much variation within these tracks. This album is throwing the listener everything from Heavy Metal anthems to European Power Metal reminiscent of Helloween, such as "Mirror," which feels a bit like a long-lost Helloween track with its major-key segments and big, booming chorus. The album finishes with "Leave a Light On," another major-key number which initially did not sit well with me, but later on I grew to enjoy the track due to the variety it gives to the album. It feels a great departure from what else exists here, and the ending of the chorus when he sings "But darling I’ll keep the key, just leave a light on for me," I am instantly reminded melodically of a major melody from the verse of the old classic Frank Sinatra tune, "I Love You Baby." Seriously, the similarity despite a different musical setting and lyrics is quite uncanny.

I actually listed this album among my top 10 in the year of 2021. I am someone who works hard to keep up with the most recent albums, which gives me little time for revisiting albums I enjoy. However, I do always find time to do so. It speaks loudly of this album that even now in February of 2022 I will be going about my day and suddenly have a big melody from Silent Winter’s Empire of Sins take over my focus. A delightful record with high values all around, it is well worth the time spent to search for this one even if you are always staying on top of current releases such as myself.

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