Echoes of Eternity: As Shadows Burn
There have been, in the musical world, many words spouted about 'Difficult Second Album Syndrome'. But then, we've heard Images & Words, Led Zeppelin II, Ride the Lightning, City, With The Beatles… it can't be that hard to stun with a second can it?
Maybe. The truth is that, after a promising debut, Echoes of Eternity sound in danger of running out of ideas. As Shadows Burn isn't a truly bad album, the production is clean, the musicianship is very good throughout and there are no awful songs on it. The trouble is that there is very little to really get excited about. The concept of taking the aesthetic of a Continental European style of gothic female vocal and grafting it onto a thrashing transatlantic metal engine is certainly an intriguing one, but it won't make a great album without great songs.
Large swathes of As Shadows Burn feel like metal by the numbers, they don't challenge, they don't surprise, they merely chug along ticking all of the relevant boxes. The opener, "Ten Swords", shows symptoms of this straight away, a bland vocal line sits awkwardly on an identikit riff. The song does develop into one of the album's better cuts, but it's an inauspicious start.
It isn't all uninspiring, on occasion a surging riff or soaring vocal line lifts the music entirely, showing just what the band are capable of, but these moments are too few and far between. The final two tracks also represent a significant highlight, but the fact that the final epic containing many of their best musical ideas is an instrumental may (or may not) serve as an indictment of their chosen direction.
This then, is an album by a band that are clearly talented and capable of good things. It has its moments and nowhere is it dire, but the result is a disappointment.
1. Ten of Swords
2. Veiled Horizon
3. Memories of Blood and Gold
4. The Scarlet Embrace
5. Descent of a Blackened Soul
6. Twilight Fires
7. Buried Beneath a Thousand Dreams
8. Letatis Deus
9. Funeral in the Sky
Added: October 29th 2009
Reviewer: Richard Wheelhouse
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
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Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-10-29 18:25:24
Echoes of Eternity are back with their follow-up to their stellar debut The Forgotten Goddess, the equally engaging As Shadows Burn. No real changes here, as the band take the successful formula from the debut and deliver another batch of hard hitting metal tracks featuring the blazing guitar work of Brandon Patton and the angelic vocals of Francine Boucher.
Lead off track "Ten of Swords" might just be the strongest song this band has written, as it features killer riffs, pounding rhythms, and some catchy hooks that will stick in your brain for hours. Things slow down for the crunchy "Veiled Horizon", as Francine's intoxicating vocal delivery weaves around plodding, heavy riffs from Brandon, but on "Blood and Gold" the band rampages back in with a crushing blend of thrash, power, and gothic metal, jam packed with quickly picked riffs and blistering drum work courtesy of Kirk Carrison. Were it not for Francine's angelic vocals, you'd swear the arrangements on "The Scarlet Embrace" could have easily fit on an Immortal or Primordial album, and "Descent of a Blackened Soul" is just classy power-metal no matter how you look at it, Brandon Patton supplying a never ending wealth of heavy & catchy guitar riffs. "Twilight Fire" again sees the thrashy/black metal riffs & drum patterns come back into play, and "Buried Beneath a Thousand Dreams" features brutal arrangements with Boucher's vocals floating over the top of punishing, complex riffery and lethal drum blasts. Though many of the songs are in the 3-5 minute range, the epic closer clocks in at over 7 minutes and is a real impressive display of chops, as the band saves their most progressive song for last, Patton's rifs and lead guitar work leading the charge on this blistering instrumental.
You might say that Echoes of Eternity haven't really updated their style much on As Shadows Burn, but honestly, most bands would kill to come up with material like this. This is a very impressive sophomore release that contains killer songs, killer production, and killer musicianship. Now let's see if they are ready to take on the world.
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