Winter's Verge
The Ballad of James Tig

Label: Pride & Joy Music
Three similar bands: Sonata Arctica/Mystic Prophecy/Stratovarius

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. It Begins
2. A Thousand Souls
3. The Reckoning
4. Timeless
5. Killagorak
6. I Accept
7. Blood On The Foam
8. The Sea
9.The Ballad Of James Tig

George Charalambous - Vocals
Savvas Parperi - Guitars
Deniel Pavlovskiy - Guitars
Miguel Trapezaris - Bass
Daniel Georgiou - Drums

Another Life...Another End (2006)
Eternal Damnation (2008)
Tales of Tragedy (2010)
Beyond Vengeance (2012)
IV (2015)
Wolves of Tiberon (EP 2017)

Teodora Stoyanova Freya - vocals

Drums recorded at Panasound Studio
Recorded and mixed at Winter's Verge Studios
Mixed and produced by George Charalambous
Mastered by George Eracleous (Oneirism Studios)
Artwork by George Vasiliou

Released 2020-09-11
Reviewed 2020-09-22


pride & joy

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Winter’s Verge, one of the most successful metal bands from Cyprus return with a new album called The Ballad of James Tig, their most ambitious album to date. With a conceptual story seemingly happening out on the seven seas on old sailing ships, perhaps of the Royal Navy or something like that. The concept and lyrics are written by local author and playwright Frixos Masouras, something that says the band wants something with this idea. They have done pretty big productions before but this might be bigger, they also have a female guest vocalist in Teodora Stoyanova Freya, she does a part in the story. So what about it then, are they in over their heads or do they pull it off?

Musically it isn’t that dissimilar from what they have done before, reminds me of previous albums with the band, I have written about two of them here at Hallowed. It is it grander, a bit more epic, and more ambitious in comparison with the previous releases that I have written about. The soundscapes a big, infused with symphonic elements and things like that – but maybe it lacks the absolute depth and darkness that would have added a bit more punch to the sound and album. The variation is good, the storytelling decent, the voices are okay but nothing overwhelmingly exciting and perhaps there are somewhat too much of the slower kinds of music.

This is a solid album but hardly an overwhelmingly exciting one, I am never really drawn to the story and when the concept doesn’t bring me in, and when the concept doesn’t pull me in how should the music that is supposed to be a part of it do that? The songs are pretty good and so on but it is only shorter fragments that induce some interest while the story as a whole just come and go. I really like the ending title track while the rest of the tracks are good but also pretty bland. This album doesn’t make me interested in the story about James Tig, he may drown or swim, or whatever the story is about, what I am missing is something to really draw me into it. I am reviewing another conceptual album later in the week and that has a captivating story and storytelling – this isn’t anywhere near that level.

Overall I think this ballad is pretty good, the songs work and nothing is rotten. But why should I listen to the story of Tig when there are so many other stories to choose from? That is a very good question, why should you? I am not sure that you should, if you like what Winter’s Verge has done before there is a decent, or even big, chance that you will find this one pretty exciting. I think it works, it works pretty well and the ending track is pretty excellent, but it doesn’t really set the world on fire and setting the world on fire is a must for a good album.