Friday, 13 September 2013

Eternium - Repelling A Solar Giant (2013) | 85%

Fed to the flames.

Markov Soroka is one talented young man, at only seventeen years old, this release is his debut full length album with Eternium, a band he formed on his own in 2011. He also has 2 solo projects on the side, Slow (funeral doom) and Aureole (black metal) both also very promising. He's definitely a motherfucker to watch in the near future. Now with all the necessary tools (a full band including a keyboardist) he needed to fully transfer the musicality of the project in a live setting, his troop and him are ready to attack the ears of the inferno beast. Can you handle the fire?

Repelling A Solar Giant is a concept album but don't be afraid, there's no shitty and useless interludes telling you a story with two or three low budget Patrick Stewart impersonators. The whole tale is composed of these 6 “auras” and the songwriting, deep and rich, is truly impressive coming from someone that age. The songs ranging from five to ten minutes are all pretty dense albeit a bit too much for their own sake sometimes. I must admit that I know Markov pretty well and his influences are obvious to me but nevertheless, this is its own thing. It's assiduously mixing the melodic might of Swedish black/death metal à la Dissection and Sacramentum with the powerful edge of Amon Amarth and the symphonic approach of early Cradle of Filth and Emperor. Mixing these sounds is no simple task, you really need to be a talented songwriter to pull that off like Soroka did here and for a debut album, consider this band to be an active and important player of this genre's future.

The lyrical side is quite complex and based on an actual book Soroka wants to write. It's a sort of mythological essay about positive and negative gods and allegorical references to the sun (no, it's not a nationalist socialist band just because the leader is originally from Ukraine, don't generalize damnit.). But you can easily ignore the fact it's a story if you want, I rarely care about concept albums myself, it's almost akin to a plot in a porno most of the time, who cares! I'm here for the music and/or the titties.

Symphonic metal should actually be a mix of metal riffs and classical elements, not a destruction of your senses with a Casio keyboard and a Bach poster laying on your wall. The symphonic elements here, even though they obviously don't have the overblown budget Dimmu Borgir has (admit it Shagrath, you spend most of it on hookers and costumes anyway), are very good. The ending of “Aura Sentium” is tasty and has this awesome violins, it's a good conclusion to an emotionally charged song.

Riffs. Riffs are also important and compared to Fleshgod Apocalypse' latest shite of an album, Eternium has them. From mid paced to fast, the band has an impressive but subtle diversity, the songwriting has the ability to have such a clear direction that the album feels like a massive, united brick thrown in your face. The musicianship is quite good too, some more solos could had been written for the album though but nonetheless, it's pretty tight and has some cool clean guitars intertwined with the orchestrations. The drums are overproduced and in your face but the drummer has been replaced so I guess the band fixed that issue?

Soroka's vocals are mostly good but I feel it's the weakest link here. His delivery, not yet as optimal as it will be in the future (that's for sure since I know he's a workaholic and will try to improve everything) is still decent but there's still some weird vocal pattern choices. I'm fine with whispered,harsh & spooky vocals but when the hilarious,silly and theatrical Danifilthesque laughing entered my ears, I wasn't very pleased. Don't get me wrong, he has a good throat but he's first and foremost a guitarist and composer. The main negative point of the album is the omnipresence of the vocals, there's so many, you can't almost breathe since it's so loaded. It's almost like if George R.R. Martin decided to put the content of three A Song of Ice and Fire books into one, give us a break dude. Sometimes less is more. Markov, please, don't recite full novels on the next album. I'm sure you can contact someone if you want to read audiobooks.

The production, thoroughly improved compared to the demo where the leader handled everything by himself, is still a bit lacking in punch, especially in the guitars department. There's apparently 2 guitars but it's kind of muffled by the sound. It just doesn't sound as professional as the gorgeous but overtly modern cover art and its video game role playing game look. Eternium probably needs the kind of bombastic, sleek productions that make wannabee ex-Watain fans shivers, the kind of production a band like fellow Dissection worshippers Thulcandra has. I don't doubt they can get one too with a first album of this calibre.

If you don't mind the modern sounds of symphonic, melodic black/death, you'll unequivocally dig Eternium. Even if they could be the sons of the members of Dark Tranquillity, their sound is already more mature than the later releases of the Swedish veterans. Along with Starkill, they're the best new blood the American scene has produced since a while that isn't shitty metalcore apparently influenced by At the Gates or sludge metal with a cajun smell.

Get this, Markov needs some money to eat and get better equipment. Oh, it's also very good and it has a shitload of potential.

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