After 13 years, Italy's Eldritch seems to have found the perfect balance of progression and aggression. The band's latest album, Portrait of the Abyss Within, is a surprisingly cohesive work that draws from influences as diverse as Fates Warning, Machine Head, Testament, and Pantera.
"Forbidden" is a ferocious scorcher, "Picture on the Wall" invokes the slow burn of the Scorpions, and the dual-guitar riffs on "The World Apart" should be enough to convert any Eldritch newcomer. Meanwhile, on "Dice Rolling," singer Terence Holler flirts with death-metal growls, indulges in borderline hardcore vocals on "Drowning," and then turns in an emotional and flowing performance on the ballad "Blindfolded Walkthrough." Despite its diversity, Portrait of the Abyss Within never sounds experimental or half-assed. Rather, Eldritch plays with confidence, and special mention goes to rock-solid female bass player Lisa Oliviero, who has since left the band in favor of continuing her duties in labelmate Icycore.
This is not your typical progressive/power metal, as Eldritch eschews traditional arrangements and cliché topics in favor of diverse songs about love gone bad ("Forbidden"), domestic violence ("Lonesome Existence") and loss ("Picture on the Wall"). Intelligent and ballsy, Portrait of the Abyss Within stands out among a glut of recent progressive/power metal releases from Limb Music Products and other labels as one of the strongest.
1) Muddy Clepsidra (1:17)
2) Forbidden (6:43)
3) The World Apart (4:15)
4) This Everlasting Mind Disease (4:30)
5) Picture on the Wall (2:35)
6) Dice Rolling (5:52)
7) Drowning (3:51)
8) Blindfolded Walkthrough (6:18)
9) See You Down (5:06)
10) Slow Motion "K" Us (4:08)
11) Lonesome Existence (4:44)
Total Time: 49:11