Review: “Trail Of The Fallen” by Sometimes We Make Music

If you think that Sometimes We Make Music (often abbreviated to SWMM) have a strange band name, then it isn’t without good reason. Ivar Oftedal (lead guitar and composing), Danny Valle Johannessen (vocals and lyrics), Terje Martinussen (drums), Zlatko Kusmic (rhythm guitar) and Alejandro Roberto Sanhueza (bass) started SWMM in the spring of 2013 as a studio project with members of band living 400 km apart. An EP later “Forgotten Tales” in 2013, and two singles in 2015 “Skogens Ro” and “Descending into Darkness” and everything has been geared up for their full debut together in “Trail Of The Fallen” and while they claim a Symphonic Metal band, the Norwegians take influence from a variety of metal genres and cite artists such as Devin Townsend, Wintersun and Tengger Cavalry as having an impact upon them.

The album starts out with “By The Might Of The Crow” which has that epic film score feel like it belongs firmly in a reboot of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, it also sports a swashbuckling solo with Power Metal influences while the folklore storytelling of Danny Valle Johannessen is not only lyrically engaging but also accented to perfection. As first single “Famine” kicks in, you could be forgiven for thinking you had been zapped into a Folk Metal project fronted by Max Cavalera. It’s a testament to how the vocals change between cuts but also how the accenting effects their delivery. Adding fiddles to the Metal framework gives a point of difference and the spoken word introduction is fabulous. We probably wouldn’t have chosen it as a single, not because it’s not a solid play but because there are stronger songs that encompass the bands sound as a whole better on the album. Title track “Trail Of The Fallen” is a glorious gallop with some Sabaton esq moment as well as more than a healthy does of In Flames with that trinket music box chime that adds a sense of evil. It’s a call to arms as Danny Valle Johannessen is the barer of the flag that claims to be the sole survivor of a war and the pacing and energy is spot on. “Hymn Of The Lost Lord” continues the flow and swashbuckling nature of the album with a powerhouse smattering of blast beats and big clean vocals. Add to the chanting and you get a real sense of tales of old like Vikings battling on the Seven Seas.

There is plenty of tongue in cheek humour in the lyrics of this work but “Queen Anne’s Revenge” takes it one step further, tearing a page from Alestorm’s book and going all out Pirate Metal. From the Organ and spoken word opening to the hilarious calls for someone to buy the protagonist a pint, it’s cracking good fun. As it plays out, the band impose more and more of their own sound into the mix and what you’re left with is class. Piano and theatre bring “Demon” to our door, a tale of a man without a face, tormenting like the Phantom of the Opera. Well worked and not over stated, losing the guitar, bass and drums helps to build the haunting atmospherics and when they do finally kick in with a minute to go, it’s a crescendo of slick and polished style. Throwing us back into the bands heavier material with “The Return” a flourish of blast beats and symphony to create as dramatic a start to a cut as they come. The Max Cavalera esq uncleans are prominent at the start of this one as well before making way like black clouds after a storm for that chink of light that is the clean vocal passage. Musically it makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck as it gallops through and by the time it reaches the end with some Trivium esq lead moments before another blast beat battery it’s breath taking in its quality. “Two Kings” has a beautiful female backing vocal from an unnamed maiden and clean vocal pairing tell an interesting tale that belongs by fire light. The epic grandeur is vibrant in its technicolor and closing on that music box chime is masterful [8/10]

Track listing

  1. By The Might Of The Crow
  2. Famine
  3. Trail Of The Fallen
  4. Hymn Of The Lost Lord
  5. Queen Anne’s Revenge
  6. Demon
  7. The Return
  8. Two Kings

“Trail Of The Fallen” by Sometimes We Make Music is out 22nd January

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