Sometimes We Make Music – Trail of The Fallen Review

Okay, first things first, I’d like everyone to put their hands together and send a warm round of applause out to the clear winners of the Best Band Name of 2020. Entries are now closed because Sometimes We Make Music has got to be the winner, no matter what else comes along this year. Seriously. What a great name for a band. Apparently, these Norwegian musicians all live some 400 kilometers away from one another,1 and only make music sometimes. Lucky for us, this is one of those times. Trail of The Fallen is their debut full-length, a welcome offering of symphonic metal offering complete with a creepy skeleton on the cover. Between those two aspects and the band name, things are already looking good.

And they sound good too! Sometimes We Make Music treats the listener to 40 minutes of dark, heavy symphonic metal on Trail of The Fallen. At times, the music borders on melodeath in the vein of Eternal Tears of Sorrow, while at others, they take on a folkier, grander tone. Their influences include Ensiferum and Turisas, and it shows. Fortunately, their identity is all their own. I love how dark this album is; thick, down-tuned guitar chords dominate the soundscape, while vocals shift from harsh shouts to deep, rich baritones (think JP Leppäluoto, Charon). In the background, Terje Martinussen’s drumming is consistently awesome; this is an album with energy. The symphonic elements are often subtle, but always there: music boxes, strings, and pianos enrich the already strong sound across the album. Oh, and there’s a banjo. Not an obnoxious or funny banjo, but a banjo that genuinely supports the songs it appears in while taking away none of the darkness (“Famine,” “Trail of The Fallen”). That’s right folks, we’ve got variety here.

Thanks to that variety, the 40 minutes fly by. “Hymn of The Lost Lord” is both gritty and grand, opening with ominous keys atop pounding blast beats. Its chorus is addictive in the dramatic power that Danny Johannessen brings to the vocal delivery. “Queen Anne’s Revenge” takes a completely different track. Right out of an Alestorm album, it brings out a folkier side of the band—not to mention my favorite lyrics since, well, the last Alestorm album.2 Following this is “Demon,” the best song on the album, a miserable, cold, and utterly bleak ballad depicting a haunted man’s descent into insanity. The piano playing is gorgeous, and Johannessen’s performance is stellar. In these tracks, I can summarize everything I like about Trail of The Fallen; in its many different forms, it is consistently enjoyable and affecting symphonic metal.

I have one criticism to level against Trail of The Fallen: this record is loud. There’s an element of what I’m going to call “indie charm” to it; a self-released album created by a band separated by a long distance is perhaps bound to sound a little rough around the edges. Still, I’d prefer this album to be mastered a little differently as everything sounds a touch too compressed. As I’ve mentioned, the symphonic elements are more subtle than your average symphonic metal album, but I’m not actually positive that’s intentional. Ivar Oftedal and Zlatko Kusmic are doing great things on their guitars, as is Alejandro Sanhueza on bass, but I’m not sure they should be quite as prominent as they are. It works—it just sounds like it’s missing something.

Sometimes We Make Music”—I have to say, I’d appreciate it if it was more often.3 Trail of The Fallen is a great debut. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of The Revenant by Adrian Benegas; you can feel the enthusiasm of the band as they give this one their all. Dark, dramatic, and unwilling to take itself too seriously, Trail of the Fallen has a wonderfully cohesive sound that I hope to hear explored again in the not-too-distant future.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: swmm.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/sometimes.we.make.music
Releases Worldwide: January 22nd, 2020

Show 3 footnotes

  1. That’s about 190,500 bald eagles, for the Americans in our audience.
  2. Oh, you wonder how I’m able to tell this story? / Well, my memory’s a bit funny, / So if you buy me a pint / I might be able to remember… / …your question.” Gold.
  3. Come on, I had to.
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