INNER CORE – Soultaker
The title track is the perfect example of how to attain an epic grandeur in an imaginative way. Other standout cuts include "Crucified" and "Monsters" while the low point of this release is undoubtedly "Sweet Addiction", which sounds like Peccatum and Judas Priest colliding in traffic in the worst and most tragic of ways. Fortunately, there are very few times when Inner Core’s tunes turn saccharine or cheesy; for the most part these guys get it just right and the majority of songs are a worthwhile listen. Closing track "Into Eternity" is hardly as climactic and rewarding an ending to an otherwise memorable album as one could have hoped for, but you cannot win them all, I suppose. Either way, there are plenty of cleverly arranged sections and sharp riffing and so on here to keep most lovers of symphonic metal entertained throughout. It is the majestic and sweeping portions of the songs that stand out the most. Strangely, some passages bring to mind the self-titled album by Paradise Lost as well as their "Symbol of Life" record, but that probably has something to do with the sound and atmosphere of Inner Core’s melodies.
"Soultaker" ebbs and flows a bit, which is to say that it is a little uneven in places and not always as musically exciting or convincing as it could have been, but all in all this is definitely worth seeking out and delving into if theatrical and dramatic music appeals to you.