Nowadays metal bands mix a lot of genres, into a unique sound of their own. Take for instance, DE LIRIUM'S ORDER, who have managed to mix technical death metal with genres such as power metal and progressive metal. It's always a surprise to hear refreshing music like that. Among those are the guys from GLADENFOLD, from Turku. The band combines the grim genre of melodic death metal, together with epic power metal.
With "When Gods Descend" GLADENFOLD have found and refined their own signature sound. The most impressive thing about "When Gods Descend", in my opinion, are the vocals by Esko Itälä, whose voice is incredibly versatile, from growls to clean vocals, from high pitched screams to the lower, more emotional ends of his voice.
The songwriting is a bit more of a mixed bag. There's a lot of variety in the tracks, from uplifting fast tracks like "Descent of the Gods" or "Brothers" to the emotional "Ghost of our Past" to the heavier and grim "Shadows and Dust". Most of the songs fit the theme of "When Gods Descends", but not all of them, which ties the album neatly together. The combination of melodic death metal and power metal, is perhaps the biggest surprise to me, in my mind both of these genres do have some elements in common, like for example the way keyboards are usually used in the sound, but also by default are still very different. GLADENFOLD, however, make it work as if they have always belonged together. To me this explains for example also why the keyboards are taking such a central part on this record, in my eyes they serve as a bridge between both genres, making it easier to integrate both sounds.
All-in-all as a fan of both genres, but mostly into German power metal, I enjoyed the album quite a lot. The songs are easy to the ear, are often quite catchy, have a lot of great symphonic elements embedded, and all of them have in common that they are very layered. The skillfully crafted keyboards, elegant guitars, in combination with the orchestrations and choirs create a top-notch atmosphere in all of the tracks, that's consistent throughout the whole album.