REVIEW: Ulthima – Symphony of the Night

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When I came across ULTHIMA a while ago, the cover artwork for “Symphony of the Night” woke my curiosity; the album is the band’s debut and was released on March 19th, 2021, via Inverse Records. Originally formed in 2010 by guitarist Ricardo Escobar and bassist Antonio Valdés in Monterrey (Mexico), they moved to Finland later – the country where many of their musical influences come from – to chase their dream of making metal music. With guitarist Jon Welti, keyboardist Niko Sutinen, Ville Nummisalo on drums, and vocalist Tuomas Antila, they managed to complete the line-up in 2018. On “Symphony of the Night,” you can find a collection of nine songs from the band’s 10-year history, with varied themes ranging from contemplating death to resisting tyranny, mostly arranged in a story-like format with elements from fiction and fantasy.

While the cover artwork gives the impression of this being a symphonic/power metal release, I was surprised to hear harsh vocals here, but they fit the music very well. The album opens with “Black Swan” and a melodic riff, pushed forward by a hard-hitting rhythm section. The keyboards deliver the symphonic background, with brighter tones building a nice contrast. While the growled vocals bring in a certain darkness, the guitars often take over the melody lines.

With this formula, they develop the next few songs in a constant high pace, all entertaining and without losing pressure, but you also may not find that one “stand-out” track. “Daughter of Twilight” is the first song that slows down a bit with a groovy mid-tempo rhythm, just to see them return to the faster style afterwards. The highlights of each song are the amazing guitar solos, sometimes dueling with the keyboards, sometimes united while playing parallel runs.

ULTHIMA introduce themselves with an amazing first effort. The combination of symphonic-, power-, and melo-death metal elements works very well and brings enough variety to keep things interesting, with the harsh vocals building a welcomed contrast. The mix and production are very professional, but too clean for me honestly, so they don’t fully support the songs in a way that lifts them up. What I like most are the great guitar solos and the constantly good song-writing. Thanks to the great pacing, “Symphony of the Night” is a very solid debut and fans of the genre will find it enjoyable for sure.

Written by Katha

Track-List

1. Black Swan
2. Tears of Fire
3. Belegar
4. Daughter of Twilight
5. Beyond the Veil
6. Eternity
7. Dancing With Shadows
8. Ulthima
9. Symphony of the Night

Lineup

Tuomas Antila – Vocals
Ricardo Escobar – Guitar
Jon Welti – Guitar
Antonio Valdés – Bass
Niko Sutinen – Keyboard
Ville Nummisalo – Drums

Label

Inverse Records

Links

Bandcamp

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