Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ETERNAL HELCARAX - Against All Odds CD review

Abyss Records
Genre: Black Metal

What is lost on all those who say things like "Black Metal needs to progress in order for it to stay relevant" is that the genre already has innovative and creative individuals (past & present) who have added so much diversity. The genre is already vibrant without having to progress it out of existence. This Irish band is a perfect example since they take the influences of ENSLAVED's progressiveness and BATHORY's Viking era stylings to modern heights of epicness. Against All Odds is ETERNAL HELCARAX's debut release, they also have two short form releases as well (the To Whatever End EP from 2010 and the Palest Kingdom EP from 2008). On here the seven songs, and one lush instrumental intro, represent a perfect meeting between blackened pagan folk with washes of progressive elements via occasional use of synthesizers to add atmosphere. The cuts are melodic but carrying enough raw emotion as well as complex song structures to invoke visions of battles of old. Yeah I really like this release.

It's rare when a band can sound brutal as well as beautiful. The opening intro will fool most people into believing nothing harsh is going to happen but once through it then ETERNAL HELCARAX (who are Praetorian - guitars/vocals/keyboards, Maulgrim - guitars/vocals, Thule - bass and Tyrith - drums) blasts out like an army charging into battle. While the early parts of Against All Odds showcase more of this band's epic side like on the amazing BATHORY-esque "Claim Your Place With The Gods". The latter half exposes true war like wrath with "Shadow Of The Wolf" (an obvious favorite of mine) and admonishment to the true warrior spirit on "Echoes Through Our Blood" and the closing title cut. Everything about Against All Odds is amazing from Praetorian's harsh battle cries, the coldness of the riffs as well as the amazing drum work by Tyrith. It's a dynamic scale of harsh and atmospheric music which in the end had me wanting more. This will definitely find itself in my end of year favorites list as well as being played throughout the year.

Rating: 5/5



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