Eldritch – EOS (Scarlet Records)Wednesday, 24th November 2021
This scribe has a long history listening to Italian progressive/power metal outfit Eldritch. Discovering the band in the early 90’s during the demo stage of 1991’s Reflection of Sadness and the promo tracks 1993 follow-up thanks to the tape trading network, they signed to InsideOut Music for their debut album Seeds of Rage in 1995 and started gaining international accolades thanks to their third record El Niño. Adding elements of AOR and thrash to their template expanded their sound during the next two decades – as well as moving to labels like Limb Music and their current home of Scarlet Records since Gaia’s Legacy in 2011. The sextet now releases EOS (goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology) – the 12th studio album which welcomes the return of keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff who hasn’t been with the group in over twenty years. As such, you can expect a mix of melodic power/progressive metal that traverses elements of a variety of Eldritch periods – bold, exciting, as well as providing a treasure trove of material that will demand repeated dives to fully process.
“Dead Blossom” as a sixty-eight second intro has a futuristic, stunted atmosphere between the layers of keyboards, guitars, and electronic drum patterns – setting the stage for the racing progressive interplay between guitars, keyboards, and double kick drumming and calmer to crunchy contrasts that take place during “Failure of Faith”. As a keyboardist Oleg paints sonic portraits in various colors and textures – hypnotic and spacious to set an intriguing mood for “Circles” where the swirls of vocals and churning guitar rhythms allow him to dance in, around, and above the fray almost in a circus performance manner. While other bands may put an epic eleven-minute plus “Sunken Dreams” at the end of a record, Eldritch instead slot this midway through – a progressive tour de force where vocalist Terence Holler uses his seasoned confidence to project the right emotional resonance up and down his register – the verses and choruses majestic to match the equally challenging musical parts that can be heavy, melodic, powerful, and intricate. The piano-oriented ballad “I Can’t Believe It” contains subtle electronic use plus strong background vocal harmony support to give the record that somber shift at the right time – while the record ends with a throwback surprise cover for “Runaway” from Bon Jovi, an 80’s classic handled with grace in the hands, feet, and minds of these gentlemen.
Eldritch keep striving to add newer dynamics record to record while not forgetting about the power/progressive metal style they established from the start. EOS is another strong record because of this approach – one that people into Evergrey, Nevermore, Dream Theater, and even older King Crimson/Genesis may find favor for.