Sonata Nocturna

Darkest Winter

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Like Aussie sensations Virgin Black, Spain's Sonata Nocturna often resemble Portuguese goth metal supremos Moonspell jamming with singer Anneke Van Giersbergen, from incredible Dutch progsters the Gathering. In other words, what we have here is a virtual goth metal symphony. Beautifully rendered in gloriously rococo detail, the band's debut EP The Darkest Winter offers a dazzling display of lofty expectations pulled off just within the bounds of good taste. Both opening number "Last Dawn" and the ensuing title track cover the gamut of the band's compositional abilities, weaving walls synthesized strings and operatic solo and choral vocals over a bedding of metallic and, perhaps most fitting of all, acoustic Spanish guitar flourishes. Credit Sonata Nocturna for their audacity, which becomes all the more evident in the nearly outrageous "Hatefull" (sic), where vocalist Amparo Garcia's soaring, expertly controlled soprano is given full flight via multi-tracked harmonies. Quite honestly, hers is a sound out of King Diamond's dreams. And every time one is convinced that they have finally gone too far, Sonata Nocturna manage to reel in their excesses just so, neatly avoiding embarrassment and creating no small expectation for a full-length follow-up.

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