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Howling Syn - Forbearers of Dusk

Howling Syn -  CD Review
Forbearers of Dusk
CD Info
Galy Records
15 tracks-61:27
Canada-English lyrics

Once in a while, a band with its debut can be categorized, as a masterpiece. Such is the case with Howling Syn's debut, "Forbearers of Dusk". Beginning in 1997 as a sort of a one-man project by Patryk Pigeon, we get what can only be described as a perfect balance of songwriting and instrumental skills. You can tell from first listen, that allot of work went into this release to make it as good a debut as possible. Mostly all of Patryk's work up 'til this release had been instrumental demos, with very limited vocal arrangement. Patryk's vision was to bring together a collection of talent that would make his music sing, as well as play. In the fall of 1999, he found a female vocalist named Sophie LeMay, do just that. She became an intrical part of what I consider, the perfect blend of male/female vocal meanderings. Sophie has a very soft style to her voice with a soprano attitude, which blends very well with the baritone (no growling) male style vocals, of Patryk. Rounding out the talent of this fine outfit is songwriter and drummer, Eric Mireault, who joined up in late 1999. Patryk undertakes all of the instrumentation such as bass, guitars and keys. Yes, he is an accomplished talent. For their live shows, they employ classically trained guitarist, Gilbert Riendeau. All hail from Montreal, Canada.

The music is a mix of Medieval Folk and Gothic with an array of Progressive elements. The album plays as some kind of dark operetta about vampires, witches, fairies and elves, if you like. The arrangement of the songs are in the Prog vein with Chapter One-"Dark Tales of Rage and Romance" with the title track "Forbearers of Dusk" beginning the opus. Then their are six more songs which lead into Chapter Two-"The War of Avalon", which has five songs. And of course the final song Epilogue-"Emperors of Tomorrow", which ends this outstanding work. Along the way the listener is treated to some beautiful harmonizing vocals by Sophie and Patryk. My kind of stuff. The lyrics are also very poetic in nature and tell a story of dark pagan ideals. The music is in no sense depressing. Quite to the contrary. It has an upbeat air to it throughout. You'd think that music or a story such as this would bring you to the point of suicide. Not the case. Patryk has unleashed quite a debut on us all. The problem with that though, has he put all he's got into this album, with nothing left for the next time? Only time will tell, I guess. But they will be hard pressed to out-do this original masterpiece.

It would be very hard to lump Howling Syn into any one category or genre of metal at this point. Best I could do is what I've already stated. Is a matter of fact, I can't think of too many bands that may have been an influence outside of the band themselves. This type of songwriting and music is a sort of invention unto itself and requires allot of thought. For those of you who would need a band or bands to compare them with, I would try any number of Eastern European bands such as Thalarion, Galadriel, (not as doomy) or the Irish Celt band Cruachan (as folky as). A similar style, but not sounding like, at all. I will be impatiently awaiting a follow-up to "Forbearers of Dusk". I can't see it getting any better than this. Please surprise me!