Charon - Sorrowburn review


43 users:
Band: Charon
Album: Sorrowburn
Release date: 1998

01. Burndown
02. Wortex
03. Breeze
04. Serenity
05. To Serve You
06. Nightwing
07. Neverbirth
08. Kheimos
09. November's Eve
10. Morrow

Charon was a band that never piqued my interest. They have progressively gone better with each passing album, but for the most part, it wasn't standout music to my ears. Even though I haven't heard all of their records, most of the time I find their music solid but lacking. With the band's 1998 debut album Sorrowburn, it was a sluggish start.

Long before vocalist Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto provided vocals for Poisonblack for one of my favorite gothic metal albums Escapexstacy, he was Charon's original and only vocalist, where they had yet to find their sound; it was evident on their debut album that they still needed time to keep looking for that sound. Sorrowburn was not a good experience when I last listened to it and even now when doing this review.

The problem that stemmed from me with Sorrowburn was the music and the overall structure of the songwriting. A lot of the music sounds boring and predictable. A lot of it sounds similar to Sentenced, who at the time had only Down and Frozen that were considered the same territory as Charon. Most of the guitar work, while heavy, does not grab my attention and does very little to stand out with the contemporaries that were around at the time. Most of the time I was disappointed by how most of these songs end; either it ruins the flow of the song or ends in a generic direction. The melodies that are shown on this album are solid, with the lead guitar and keyboards showing some comprehension of hooks and atmosphere. However, for the most part, the music is not hampered by a lack of skill, but more of a lack of originality.

The vocal performance of Sorrowburn was solid. At some points, there are moments where Juha reaches Sentenced levels of similarity, but at least he can try and mix it up sometimes. Yes, his tenor voice can sound monochrome, but he's easily the best thing about Sorrowburn. His performance is still sorrowful and very gothic sounding, and he does what he can to help pick this album up from the shaky music.

There are also some questionable production choices. The biggest example comes with the song "Breeze", where we're being introduced to feedback and the sound of choppy guitars before the song cuts off at the end by the aforementioned feedback, which really ruins the flow of the song. That is also heard in the vocals, where it had the decreasing production value in the vocal department to the point where it sounds watered down. Some tracks cut out in between songs, which I have noticed, and yet it still has some glossy production when those choices are not featured.

What about the lyrics? For the most part, it's been a mixed bag. There is definitely some effort put into the lyrics in songs like in "Neverbirth", but there was a simplicity that plagued some songs. They do play things too safe, having the same lyrical themes often heard with HIM's music, namely love and death. It leaves much to be desired, even if there are shining moments where it has well-written parts.

Charon are talented musicians and had the potential to make something good; however, they wouldn't do so until much later. As it is, Sorrowburn was not a good start. It has some good performances, neat melodies, and some well-written lyrics, but I was left bored and uninterested. The album's musical structure and production choices hamper the album, as do some generic themes reminiscent of the likes of Sentenced and HIM, leaving Charon with an underwhelming start to their career as a result.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 5

Written by Gothic Metalhead | 14.02.2021


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 14 users
14.02.2021 - 18:28
Gothic Metalhead
Pro Introvert
I should add that Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto was not the original vocalist. I realized now that bassist Teemu Hautamäki was the original vocalist before being solely on bass.
14.02.2021 - 19:27
JoHn DoE

That's harsh, I don't find this bad at all.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
15.02.2021 - 15:41
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
This us their best whit studio and sound glich, few young lads from frozen nordic Kemi wanted play goid music. I live this good Lyric.
Cold is longer as we thought.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
16.02.2021 - 04:15
SoUnDs LiKe PoP

Kind of a weird album for them, as were many debut albums from Suomi Metal bands. Some good moments, but probably their weakest effort overall.
I lift weights and listen to metal
18.02.2021 - 11:05
Gothic Metalhead
Pro Introvert
I appreciate everyone's opinion on this album, but from my experience, I just couldn't really get into the album. It's not the worst, it just didn't really capture my attention without noticing its flaws.

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