ELDRITCH – EOS
RELEASE DATE: 19 Nov 2021
LABEL: Scarlet Records
Although the name Eldritch may be almost unknown to the average metalhead, especially the younger generations, it is actually one of the most influential and oldest technical progressive metal bands on the internationl heavy metal scene. It is a complete enigma to me that despite the fierce quality, this band did not achieve much more. Nevertheless, these Italians have 11 official albums behind them and have been veterans of progressive metal sound since 1991. The beginnings go back to 1988 as a metal band Zeus and in 1995 this band as Eldritch soared to the heights of the international scene with the album Seeds of Rage. Eldritch’s line-up has changed over time, but each musician has given his stamp of incredible quality on albums that have never offered clichés, constantly improving and researching.
Eldritch announced their 12th official studio album EOS for November 19 with some changes in line-up in regards to previous Cracksleep album. Alessio Consani was replaced by Dario Lastrucci and keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff well known to a wider audience for his contribution to the great sound of bands like Labyrinth, Death SS and Vison Divine is finally back to Eldritch.
We listened to the album and have very positive impressions. Eldritch never really had a standard recipe that would be repeated from album to album, so this album also exudes freshness and new ideas.
First of all, the production done by Eugene Simone, band’s main songwriter and guitarist, is flawless, perfect. Each member is the true master of their instrument and the band works like a machine without any gaps. The intro Dead Blossom, although in the synthesizer-oriented futuristic mix of Tangerine Dream, ELP or King Crimson and electronic sound, gives the impression that the music on the album will be colored by melody and drama, and with the first lines of Failure of Faith the machinery starts working at full speed, fast tempo, aggressive almost thrash metal guitar sound in Annihilator style and occasional old Tangerine Dream or Genesis atmosphere as well as fantastic arpeggios from time to time accompanied by the parallel sound of keyboards as well as some memorable elements in musical solutions. The Cry of A Nation has fantastic arrangement with effective and perfect drumming skills, keyboards and a bit of groovy guitar sound brings really many unexpected moments, incredibly well-packed sudden and unexpected turnarounds, odd rhythms and parallel keyboard and guitar melodies in certain moments in the form of a march. The rhythm section is unmistakable. Especially interesting is the vocals of Terence Holler (Mario Tarantola), which has a huge dose of originality, especially with its characteristic vibrato, most likely “borrowed” from the ethno music characteristic for certain parts of Italy (at least it is my personal impression), which further contributes to originality (I personally always loved that character accent in vocals as Klaus Meine, Doro Pesch or Udo Dirkschneider own). The same could be noted also in Failure of Faith. The chorus of the song is a real revelation and is really memorable so simply stuck in someone’s head and the whole song brings the listener musical pleasure. Eldritch although progressive metal is not a band that drowns the listener with infinitely long songs, solos and repetitive guitar loops. It is actually an effective progressive metal.
The EOS is done at a mid tempo and is colored with great combination of clean guitars with guitar melodies, perfect drums and excellently dosed guitar bravoure, groovy guitar sound and special vocal lines.
I Can’t Believe It – a very beautiful progressive metal ballad through which the piano and carefully dosed orchestrations flow all the time with a modern approach to progressive rock of the 70’s. Failure of Faith, fast tempo, aggressive almost thrash metal guitar sound in Annihilator style and occasional Tangerine Dream atmosphere as well as fantastic arpeggios from time to time accompanied by the parallel sound of keyboards. Of course, “Italian vibrato” also adorns Terence’s vocals in this song, as well as some memorable elements in musical solutions.
I can’t help but get the impression that there is a lot of inspiration in progressive rock of the 70’s on this album, even though the background is technically progressive metal. Sunken Dreams alternates between high and low vocal sections with well-done background vocals, along with very good bass sections that match the drummer’s skills very effectively. Guitars do not allow going beyond the dosed loops and very easily return the listener from a skillfully designed trap to aggressive groovy rhythms and guitar melodies.
The Awful Closure, a song with a leading prog.power metal riff, atmospheric sound and occasional intelligent disharmonies, beautiful melodies and guitar work and the parallel sound of guitar and keyboard solos is my personal favorite.
When I saw the title of the last song on the album, Runnaway, I said to myself – ,, ooooh, noooo, what if they covered Bon Jovi?! I rarely like covers to be honest. It’s amazing how great the guys handled it in their manner that the audition elicited a blissful smile on my face reminding me of my early teenage days back in early 80’s when I loved Bon Jovi. One would have the feeling that Bon Jovi played the same song in a modern heavy metal manner, and it’s amazing how great Terence sang this song. Really perfect cover, have to admit.
All in all, EOS is another great album in 30 years long musical Odissey of progressive metal Titans Eldritch. It really bringed a lot of new elements and further exploring in sound relying on the best moments of some classical progressive rock or art rock bands. Love me also some artwork on the frontcover. That album rocks for me!
Terence Holler – vocals
Eugene Simone – guitar
Rudj Ginanneschi – guitar
Oleg Smirnoff – keyboards
Dario Lastrucci – bass
Raffahell Dridge – drums
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studio (San Marino)
Artwork by Federico Mondelli