In trying to keep the lesser known band thing going, I’m going to review Eternal Rest’s debut album Prophetic. They are an Australian death metal band. I’m not much of a label type of person, but with Hybrid’s excellent album and now this, I’m definitely going to start paying more attention to Deepsend records.
This album has a great blend. Sometimes it has a really old school sound. By this I mean classic death metal conventions from the early 90’s. There are some solos with that really bright guitar sound whipping and bending pitch all over the place (think early Morbid Angel). This style is very much the minority of the album though. There’s just hints here and there. It is a wonderful homage to the roots of the genre without accidentally rehashing the stuff.
Most of the album has a very modern and fresh sound. There are moments that incorporate Meshuggah-esque elements. I think most people mean something other than me when I say this. All this means to me is that you get some chugging pattern with a really deep, dark, reverb-y guitar and then have a drone-y melodic line over top of it. But more importantly, this melodic line is modal. It isn’t just in some major or minor scale. A modal variant is used like Dorian or sometimes they use the harmonic minor scale. It has a bit of a Middle Eastern flare.
Other songs have a somewhat sludgy feel. They are downtempo and use full band parallel motion. I actually really like these parts and would like to see more of this sludge influenced death metal from other bands. There’s no clean singing on the album, so this isn’t melodeath, but one cool thing about this band is that there really is a pretty strong emphasis on melodic lines in the guitar. Yet they still keep a pretty classic, punishing death metal vibe. Also, because of the way the melodic lines are played there is also a hint somewhat of black metal. It’s subtle, but seems to be there.
I think there’s a concept behind the album, but I haven’t fully figured it out yet. The first track is “First Gate” and the last is “Last Gate.” There’s no mention of gates between, but surely this is a journey of some kind. Unfortunately, I never pay attention to lyrics which might help me figure out the concept. There are 9 tracks, so maybe these are the 9 gates of hell?
I can really get behind what they’re doing, but I don’t foresee this album as being super memorable. I can’t really put my finger on it. I really like it and have listened to it a lot, but maybe there’s a lack of depth or complexity that would make it memorable? I just don’t know. I’m really looking forward to their next few releases to see how they progress. For that reason, I can’t give it ridiculously high marks, but I’ll go with an 8/10 for now.
Here’s a good sample because I think it hits most of the ideas I talked about:
I can’t seem to get the bandcamp thing to embed, so check it out here.