Album Review: The Cradle of Time by Mistborne (Self Released)

London based symphonic metal band, Mistborne, will unleash their debut album Cradle of Time, on the 18th of November.

Mistborne combine heavy guitar riffs, strong and precise drumming and soaring melodic vocals with complex orchestral arrangements to offer maximum impact. The three-piece band have origins that go back to 2019 but officially formed as Mistborne in 2021 with their efforts fully focused on delivering a standout debut album. Mistborne’s new album Cradle of Time is a concept album. It tells the story of a culture lost in time. It follows the narrative of losing the identity of nation while drowning in their collective ignorance. The album peaks with the hopeful message that nothing is ever truly lost as long as a spark of consciousness and awareness remains within people.

Mistborne are Denis Hristov on vocals, piano and production with Jodey Baxter on guitars and production and Jordan Turner on drums.

Speaking about Cradle of Time, Denis Hristov states:

The main idea of the album was to create a compelling and engaging story where every song is related to the next. I have always had an obsession with history, and I wanted to tell the story of how a culture can lose its identity and eventually its memory of its own glory, simply through the collective ignorance of its people. The globalisation of the world threatens many cultures nowadays as well. People easily forget their origins which is dangerous because it could be used against them and erase the mark their ancestors left in history. The history of every nation carries shameful and prideful moments, but we should not forget it because of the lessons it teaches the new generations. In the album we also deal with our own personal struggles with ignorance.

Mistborne The Cradle of Time Band

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With 9 tracks to get stuck in to, The Cradle of Time sets us on our journey with Sandstorm, a song that epitomises grandiosity, epicness and atmospheric music. Its gentle, soothing orchestral introduction builds into a hair-raising sound with combinations of drums, guitars and orchestral elements to die for. Vocally, it is beautifully sung with plenty of depth and a voice made for this style of metal. Piano melodies, backing symphonics, expert drumming and seamless guitar melodies create a powerful and layered foundation for the vocals to work with. Within the beauty there is also a strong feeling of darkness and despair coupled with the strength of will to push through the challenges ahead of you. It’s a dynamic and exciting album opener that oozes class.

The Fields of Sand continue our characters journey as he marches on through vast fields of sand. The relentless march comes through well in the sombre singing and tickling piano melodies. The clear and concise lyrical content really helps with understanding the concept too which is very important to really make you feel involved on The Cradle of Time. Vocally gorgeous again, with exciting symphonic backing, punchy drumbeats and passionate guitars, it’s quite a hypnotic track to listen to and also carries a bit of an Asian vibe to some of the melody which helps also to convey the desert landscape image.

Visions is a short narrative track that brings us into the thoughts of our lead character as he offers perspective. Again, a really clever idea in the concept to help us understand the characters motives and traits. Softly sung over a simple but captivating piano melody, for the most part, we learn of his fading eyesight and clairvoyant ability as we prepare to continue on this solemn journey with Dark Waters. A song that feels immensely dark and desperate in the verses but firm and determined in the choruses. The arrangements and melodies all carry a sinking feeling, representing the concept of nations sinking into their own ignorance. The choruses hit harder with a punch of guitars, drums and attitude that scream resolve. It’s a fantastic listen, important message aside, really combining the power of metal with the emotion of classical to create a soul affecting musical force.

Lullaby of the Abyss ensures the overall message of challenging ignorance hits home on a personal level. Where Dark Waters looked at collective ignorance, this feels a more personal and pointed message. Delivered in the guise of a lullaby it is a dark and haunting track. Musically absolutely stunning again though with jaw dropping melodies and emphatic drumming as well as being vocally gorgeous again too. It has a real impact.

The New Order describes a world where minds are closed, curiosity is lost, and ignorance prevails. This section of our story is delivered in a flurry of symphonic melody, punchy guitars and drums and wonderful singing. There are layers of backing vocals that really enhance the track and, before the risk of repetition can set in, Mistborne hit us with a stunning section of drums, choir like vocals and violins that is mesmerising, threatening and bloody wonderful to listen to. It grows back into the song with the guitars first, then the vocals in an emphatic, fist pumping return to the core song. Thats brilliant.

Awake brings us back into hope and humility in a song that makes you feel thoughtful and optimistic. The piano melody really puts that hopeful message across at the beginning before an energetic and exciting section takes off with catchy drumbeats and riffs combining with hyped up symphonics. It feels good, and, coming off the back of some darker feeling songs, it feels a little like a weight being taken off of your shoulders. More stunning vocals and an exciting song structure as we get pulled out of a dream and offered reminders of hope, freedom and identity by our lead character. The lead guitars really stand out in a song that is deeply emotional and uplifting.

The Mystic brings epicness back to the absolute forefront. Within seconds of that catchy intro, you feel like you are about to experience something magical. Chunky riffs add a threatening layer bridging introspective vocals sections wonderfully. The gentle backing of violins is used subtly which just adds more drama to proceedings when the chorus drops, and the instruments all jump up a notch. As our characters battles ignorance, showing the true strength of his will, the message of The Cradle of Time is delivered loud and clear. With enough people having the strength of will to stand against it, ignorance cannot prevail. Another structurally exciting track to listen to with strong drums and vocals, and clever enhancing symphonic elements. As well for me, with the guitars feeling much more of a driving force in this song than in some of the others it really stands out as a firm favourite.

Mistborne close out their journey through The Cradle of Time with Hourglass. Closing the album out nicely, it has an introspective feel with wonderful vocals enhanced by the backing harmonising. Looking at life as a grain of sand in an hourglass, we are challenged as to how we will utilise that brief moment of time we have to impact on our world. It’s a nice track, it works very well in closing out the album and the story.

Well, what an experience that was. Mistborne have delivered and absolute masterclass in storytelling and emotion driven music here with The Cradle of Time. To think this is a debut release too – it has the feel of expertise around it, members of a band that surely have decades of experience within them despite their youthful appearance. I think the extra time taken to perfect the album paid off. The story is clear and concise with lyrical content that perfectly delivers the message expected. The pacing of the album is strong with not a moment of boredom allowed to creep in.

Musically, it leans heavily on the symphonic side. In some songs, that felt so heavily that guitars were not always clearly findable but a minor thing in an album of such class. The orchestrations are masterful, the guitars that become much more of a driving force later in the album are perfectly suited to each track, the drums are particularly special throughout, and the vocal style could not be more perfectly aligned with the style and substance of The Cradle of time. Mistborne are sure to make a big impact when The Cradle of Time drops on the 18th of November and deservedly so. This is a stunning release.

Don’t miss out on a potential Album of the Year contender when it drops on your chosen streaming service on the 18th of November. Be sure to follow the bands socials too and let’s hope we get a physical release, preferably vinyl, in the future too.

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  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

The Cradle of Time by Mistborne (Self Released)
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