The Eternal – Waiting for the Endless Dawn (Inverse)Tuesday, 21st August 2018
The alluring Aussies have long been on the radar, but never quite in clear focus, if you catch our drift. They’ve certainly run with the right crowd, so to speak, coming up on now-defunct Finnish label Firebox (the former home to Fall of the Leafe and Swallow the Sun, among others) and now have six studio albums to their credit, the latest being Waiting for the Endless Dawn, a weighty release if we’re speaking in terms of scope. This thing is in no rush to get to the point.
“Prog Goth” is applicable here — the album’s opening cut, “The Wound” is a supremely daunting and/or risky and/or polarizing 19 minutes in length. That’s about five Katatonia songs in one. Nevertheless, it’s indicative of how The Eternal likes to operate — their songs are spread out like a parachute on a field, lots of ruffles (i.e. riffs), lumps (different type of vocals) and girth (space lent for atmosphere). Trouble is, you’re always waiting for it to “click” and it never quite does. It almost does during the opening strands of the aforementioned “The Wound,” as well on the tender builds of “A Cold Day to Face My Failure,” where vocalist Mark Kelton lays down some smooth lines. “I Lie In Wait” almost snaps in to view as well, buoyed by the keyboard work of ex-My Dying Bride, Anathema and Cradle of Filth man Martin Powell and more vocal resplendence from Kelton. And while the cause is furthered by a guest spot from Swallow the Sun belter Mikko Kotamaki on “In the Lilac Dusk,” Waiting for the Endless Dawn never quite gets over the threshold.
Waiting for the Endless Dawn is a steep climb, perhaps too foreboding for its targeted audience who often prefer things to be served up in a much more palatable fashion. It’s not coming from The Eternal, who as their career has shown, remain staring at greatness from across the street.