Quick becoming a stalwart in the Sewdish power metal scene Veonity show few signs of stopping, putting out release after quality release the last few years. Beginning humbly in Gladiator’s Tale (2015) showing the signs of greatness which were quickly expanded upon in defining sophomore Into the Void (2016), and wholly exploded to epic proportions with number three, Legend of the Starborn (2018), continually growing in scope and sound with each consecutive release. Number four, Sorrows, is then something of an antithesis to this approach, but nevertheless a powerful and important one as the curious case of Veonity continues to take another exciting twist. They’ve called it a darker album, but that’s not necessarily the case. It is more restrained, certainly; not as prone to that extravaganza that marked the previous album. And the themes are definitely far from the fantasy tinged battles of yore, instead introspective and weightier themes like life after death, good and evil.
The album isn’t exactly kicked off, so much as it is unraveled, beginning slowly with a sorrowful piano and cello intro titled Broken. Immediately we know this will not be your typical Veonity experience. The opening few tracks are stellar, setting the stage and feel in a way that is very ostensibly Veonity, but taking things in a more introspective and thoughtful route rather than epic battles. Lead single Graced or Damned opens on a mid tempo, progressive tinge, setting for speedier heights in the pre-chorus, flying into a catchy chorus with massive draw; one of the band’s strongest efforts to date. The songs are typically shorter than before, more concise and following the laid out pattern and style. That’s not to say they don’t have heaps of time to delve into the guys’ splendid musicianship when wholly appropriate; the melodic guitars are every bit as powerful as ever, laid back and delivered with poise and dignity to fill out the meaty riffing and Joel Kollberg’s fleshy double bass drums.
On the speedy melodic side, tracks like Blinded Eyes Will See and Where Our Memories Used to Grow deliver the absolute goods in style. The latter is super melodic and catchy in all the right Stratovarius like ways; it sports a guest appearance from Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland) in a genre typical but so incredibly powerful duet with Anders Sköld. Vocalist and guitarist Sköld, leaning more and more into the role of the former, delivers with confidenc, wielding grandiose high notes as well as his usual powerful tenor. His guitar partner in crime, Samuel Lundström, continues to be a major tour de force on the leads, laying furious solos that hearken to the olden days of power metal while taking the Veonity style to innovative new regions. His solos and harmonic leads grace the album with great marksmanship, highlights including Graced or Damned, Free Again and Where Our Memories Used to Grow.
Sorrows shows growth and maturity for Veonity’s sake, not only in the themes handled but in the songwriting itself; and an important step. Perhaps not groundbreaking in terms of the style, but for a band beginning on a premise of epic battles and tales of glory of the olden days it’s an innovative and poignant release. This leads one to ponder the position of Sweden’s finest power metal act today - a position left vacant by Bloodbound’s inexplicable devolution into the bland and overly gimmicky - a throne Veonity seem to have every intention of taking - or no intention at all, but taking it anyway - with an album just shy of reaching the individual heights and zeniths of its predecessor, but also far above its lows. The overall quality and consistency show the mark of their true musicianship and makes for the strongest addition to Veonity’s discography so far; and (alongside Darktribe) one of the greatest euro power metal releases in a 2020 that has thus far been lacking.
Standout tracks: Graced or Damned, Blinded Eyes Will See, Where Our Memories Used to Grow