When you think of epic fantasy metal, the first place that comes to mind is Europe. With groups such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Iron Fire and a host of others leading the way, this has been the hotbed for such music. That is until Total Eclipse decided to enter the ranks from their home in San Francisco. With more than a passing nod to the heavy metal gods, this band led by the piercing vocals of Andy Giardina and the dual guitar attack of brothers Erik and Chris Cameron manage to capture both the spirit and the classic feel of their heroes. Total Eclipse delivers a slice of metal that will have you reaching for your Broadsword and looking for the dragon to slay!
They are also not afraid to deal with spirituality in their lyrics. Leading off with a classic tale of good versus evil, "Hell On Earth" is a high energy introduction to the band and the very unique vocal style of Andy Giardina. While trying to pinpoint a way to describe his voice, I finally decided to give up and just say that it is something that will grow on you much in the way Geddy Lee of Rush does as he uses his vocal ability to go where no one has before!
It is the brothers Cameron who fuel the classic sound of Total Eclipse. Like those who have traveled this road before, they will bring you the feel of old school but with a seductive power and overwhelming collage of fiery metal riffs and solos. Total Eclipse is not afraid to let the music flow. Many of the songs have extended instrumental sections that are very well done and fit the subject matter extremely well. In the nine minute plus title track "Spellcaster" the brothers manage to elicit thoughts of a world where Kudalini reside or the Dragonslayer may be summoned to use his cunning.
In the song "Flames Of Eternity" which is my personal favorite, the band uses a very anthem like approach that give you the feeling of a grand epic tale. The brothers once again create a soundscape that inspires. Andy's vocals and lyrics are a mystical combination that offers you a good taste of pure fantasy escapism.
While I cannot say that these guys have a totally unique sound or approach to their music, it is easy to say that what they do, they do quite well! It is also one of those discs that grow on you the more you listen to it. The main thing I hear is the potential that will make me pick up their next offering without question. Spellcaster has set the stage for what should be a very long career. Just put this disc into the player between Maiden and Dio and you will have a mighty line-up for your listening pleasure!!
1. Hell On Earth
2. Final Evolution
3. Storm Warning
5. 7 Trials
6. The Flames Of Eternity
7. Above & Below
8. Ashes Of Eden