Written by Chrisy
Eldritch – EOS
Progressive/Power Metal from Italy
Release Date: November 19th, 2021
Label: Scarlet Records
It isn’t uncommon for a band to grow, expanding from their roots embedded long ago – say like in the 90’s, into something more powerful 20 years later. Trees need nurturing, just like any other living thing, and music is no different. For modernized metal-veterans, Eldritch, it’s all the same even when it comes to releasing their 12th studio album – EOS.
Named after the Greek Goddess of the Dawn, Eos, this album is a decadent display of such a title with fascinating highs, brilliant harmonies, and exquisite musical prowess. With mixtures of progressive and modern metal touched by hints of thrash and electronic elements, this album is one to experience all the way through.
Eldritch hasn’t seen a line-up change since their birth in 1991, and have some of the world’s most well—known Prog Metal Festivals under their belt like ProgPower USA, ProgPower Scandinavia, and Ready for Prog? In France. For fans of the popular Annihilator, Evergrey, and King Crimson, Eldritch is the perfect mix of cascading vocals, with speedy, flesh-ripping drumbeats and guitars.
The first single off the new album, “The Cry of a Nation” was released on YouTube on September 30th, 2021 and was accompanied by a dark, yet epic music video. Produced by Mastermind, guitarist, and main songwriter Eugene Simone, the band also welcomed back keyboard player Olaf Smirnoff after 20 years, who was a key member in their success in the early 90’s; this, was proudly put on display when they dropped their first track on YouTube, letting new and old listeners alike become once more acquainted with the uniqueness that is Eldritch. The song itself, is a brilliant mixture of masterfully crafted guitar work, and mesmerizing vocals with the familiar Eldritch notes of post-apocalyptic style progression.
The album is introduced by a song called “Dead Blossom” which comes off rather techno-like in sound and quickly becomes catchy. It could easily be called the rise of the album. What it unleashes is a taste of the musical range that Eldritch is known to offer yet, it reveals to us nothing; we are then allowed, or rather forced, to dive right into the rest of the album without a moment’s hesitation.
“Failure of Faith” comes next, and starts off incredibly heavy and wild, catching us offguard with feral guitar solos and steady drums as expected by Eugune, Rugj Ginanneschi, and Raffahell Dridge. Terrence Holler’s vocals are a welcome sound that compliment this track with perfection. The ear-piercing high notes, followed by low, steady howls breathe new life into what some would deem to be a classical yet, modernized sound, that, to some, would be reminiscent with other early Power Metal bands like Dragonforce.
The song, “Circles” takes us by surprise with upbeat electronic elements that pull us in, only to be taken over by hard-hitting metal after only 30 seconds. It’s an absolute stunner with heavy riffs, and menacing drums that infect the ears and mind. It’s impossible not to head-bang to this track with its terrifying breakdowns and catchy overall playthrough. It is, in an instrumental essence, my favourite from the album. It’s the perfect mix of classic solos, and hard-hitting drums that make me listen repetitively.
“No Obscurity” is light, with a classical rock feel and sound intensified by steady riffs and strong basslines as expected with long-time bassist, Dario Lastrucci. A perfect break for anyone feeling beaten up by the mesmerizing progressive elements that have already punched you a few times over. It is also the track that holds one of my favourite solos from the album with solid highs, and head-swinging lows that make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.
Holding the track-length record on this album at just over 11 minutes comes “Sunken Dreams”. It’s a dream sequence with a Bladerunner atmosphere built upon expert keyboard skill and carefully orchestrated guitars. It seems like a lot to chew off, even for an album with a few songs stretching the 6-minute mark but, it’s worth a listen.
“Fear Me” offers up 90’s style energy with a grungy intro and quick guitar work reminiscent of that era. Quickly it flips, touching on the modernized keys being masterfully plucked by expert hands. Vocal range is prominent in a powerful display of lingering highs and harsh lows from verse to chorus and over again. There is masterful elegance in this track not only from the artfully played instruments but, from the way they are combined; each are given their own time in the spotlight, so listeners are truly able to appreciate the music in its entirety.
Ballads like “I Can’t Believe It” give depth to Eldritch’s album with talented composition and gentle embrace rather than heavy-guitar hits at every turn. This falls into the next track, “The Awful Closure” that features a heavier sound but, keeps the light-hearted lyrics similar to bands like Evergrey. There is still the fearsome metal undertone to be had but, lyrics are calmer and offer a slow pace that catches the ear with passionately sung expression.
The title track from the album, “Eos” holds up to the album’s strength as a near perfect closure track. It is slower, with classic Eldritch sound familiar on tracks like “Charging Blood” from 2015 which many listeners will find comforting.
The final track is a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” which is a perfect compliment to the modernized classic album as they pay tribute to classic keys but, add in a personalization of heavier guitar which makes it all their own.
The Bottom Line
This album, in its entirety, is a perfect mix to put on whether the atmosphere is a chill fireside evening, or a raging house party. Fans of all ages, who dabble in all musical genres, will be able to appreciate this album, finding at least a song or two to add to their own playlists for long-time listening and further familiarization. This album feels long but, it’s what’s in the journey, not the destination, that holds Eldritch’s claim to years of success.