Eternity’s End – Embers of War (Prosthetic Records)Friday, 10th December 2021
Best known for his work in Obscura, Paradox, and Alkaloid, guitarist Christian Münzner also has a passion for writing/playing in the power/progressive metal with a speed/neoclassical slant genre – thus the outlet for this style with Eternity’s End. Embers of War is not only the third studio album for the group, but third consecutive release on a newer label (making a jump to Prosthetic Records). Welcoming fellow Alkaloid bassist Linus Klausenitzer back into the fold, there is also a newer second guitarist with Justin Hombach replacing Phil Tougas while seasoned drummer Hannes Grossmann tackles all the precision percussion chops necessary to drive these tracks to the stratosphere.
These musicians push the parameters of power progressive metal, using plenty of fleet chord progressions, intense neoclassical movements, and intricate interplay sections that combine elements of the Shrapnel catalog of artists, Teutonic leaders, as well as acts like Racer X and Riot among others. An elevated guitar harmony charge prevails on the opening double salvo for “Dreadnought (The Voyage of the Damned)” and “Bane of the Blacksword” – although the opening sequence for the former is relatively restrained before kicking into gear. Throughout ex-Hibria vocalist Iuri Sanson matches the furious musical intensity with his multi-octave prowess, hitting eagle high notes with ease during the more Yngwie Malmsteen meets Chastain-oriented “Arcturus Prime” (given an assist with proper choir background support courtesy of Piet Sielck and Jan Sören Eckert of Iron Savior). Even though there is a fair amount of dazzling musical information to process and absorb, Christian and the men of Eternity’s End never forget to inject the right balance of catchy hooks and refrains to reference song to song – most will delight in the Running Wild-ish cultural runs during “Hounds of Tindalos” or the straightforward speed tempo template Hannes delivers on “Deathrider”. The record ends with the title track – an almost ten-minute odyssey that features ripping guitar work from Justin and Christian, an occasional nod to extreme metal through specific driving chord choices, plus an interesting, calmer acoustic / electric instrumental midsection before the militant, marching strains take the song back up to a speedy, sci-fi conclusion.
You don’t hear many bands like Eternity’s End anymore – so when one of this quality continues to deliver amazing songs and great records, it’s hard not to savor these moments. Embers of War hopefully will allow these musicians the chance to get out live a bit more and mesmerize audiences who love speed-oriented power/progressive metal.