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The Hourglass - Through Darkness and Light

The Hourglass – CD Review
Through Darkness and Light


The Hourglass



CD Info
11 Tracks
English Lyrics

In my review of The Hourglass's inaugural release, Requiem, a five-track EP I thought was thoroughly enjoyable and very promising for this young band out of Romania, I went on at length about the potential of this band and the talent of their leader, the firey redhead, Alma Vomastek. Immediately after that release, Alma and her band embarked upon a crowd funding campaign to raise the cash for a follow-up full-length CD. It was successful and into the studio they went, eventually releasing the single “Magdalene” as a teaser to us new fans. Finally, on March 28 of this year, The Hourglass unleashed their latest work on the world, an album entitled Through Darkness and Light.

Some of the tracks on the CD are re-vamped versions of songs from the EP, which Alma wasn't happy with because she didn't feel they represented the sound or character she was trying to create with her music. Her dream was to combine symphonic power metal with industrial metal elements, and Requiem she felt, didn't quite accomplish that. But, as she gushed to me in an email, she was finally able to achieve the mixture and quality of sounds she was looking for in Through Darkness and Light.

And I have to say that although I knew this band had potential with Requiem, this new album is further proof that this band, young though they are, can compete with some of the best bands in the genre in terms of talent, style, character, and sound.

The first song on the CD is “Dying Star”, a new track that immediately gets us into the more electronic and industrial elements Alma was so desirous of. Its intro has a kind of space-themed feel to it before the song turns into a bombastic ride through the new and improved sound of the band. The industrial elements are strong and fitting, and they sound great, adding an element of magic to the song.

Things continue in this great vein remakes of “Rise” and “Away.” Especially notable in “Rise” are the keys, performed by Ioana Dîrvă. In fact, she is one of the stars of the album, in my opinion. This is a very keyboard-heavy album and this young woman acquits herself most excellently.

The other star of the album, is of course, Alma, whose vocals I have previously compared to that famous metal vocalist who's name begins with T. She is simply amazing in Through Darkness and Light; she has the sensitivity (as demonstrated in “Dare”), power, and dynamic to be one of the big names in female fronted metal.

Alma is also the songwriter. Her lyrics are deeply personal, addressing her own journey through bleak despair (as in “The Fall”) but also telling the story, as she does in the song “Magdalene”, of a woman devastated by love time and time again, always falling for the wrong man who doesn't treat her in the way she deserves. This tune is one of the best on the album; it's catchy, has a great climax near the end.

Still speaking of songwriting, Alma taught herself, as I mention in my other review, to write metal riffs, basslines, etc., in order to create the music she wanted to. Apart from being a thoughtful lyricist, the music she has written is also of top quality. She knows how to write symphonic power metal! The riffing is crunchy, the songs are tight, mostly up-tempo, and definitely will get your head banging.

Highlights for me on the album, apart from “Magdalene”, are the remake of “Dies Irae”, which is a song I've always liked, “Dare”, which is also very catchy and memorable, and the opener, “Dying Star.”

I'm so proud of this band, who are so hardworking and dedicated to their art. Having over 12,000 likes on Facebook is also nothing to sneeze at for an indie metal band from Romania, and as I mentioned before, their crowd-funding campaign was a rousing success, and they have fans all over the world who contributed to it, which is a testament to many things: their superior work ethic, their social media savvy, and of course their fantastic music.

The Hourglass is also very energetic live, as you can definitely tell by the YouTube videos of their gigs. They play live quite a bit, both locally and in Germany, where they travel to once in a while to play shows with other bands. Alma is an engaging front woman, and she can really work a crowd.

I believe this band can go far; all the elements are there. Hopefully Through Darkness and Light will launch them into bigger and bigger things. They definitely deserve it.