REVIEW: ETERNITY’S END – “Unyielding”
At the eleventh hour of 2018 – quietly but swiftly – a supergroup featuring former members of those horrible (not) bands Obscura and Necrophagist was set to embark their second effort through the merciless world of power metal. The monster Hannes Grossmann (drums, Alkaloid, Hate Eternal, Howling Sycamore and many others), guitar virtuoso Christian Münzner (Alkaloid, ex-Majesty, ex-Obscura) and competent keyboardist Jimmy Pitts joined forces once again, this time around accompanied by Phil Tougas (guitars Chthe’ilist, Zealotry), the multi-faceted Mike LePond (bass, Symphony X, Ross the Boss, Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins) and my countryman Iuri Sanson (vocals, Hibria) to bring ‘Unyielding’, to life.
Their first album with Ian Parry (vocals, Elegy) was absolutely killer, so would these dudes be able to top such a massive effort with significant changes in the lineup? Well, the answer comes quickly with a thunderous, grand beginning in “Into Timeless Realms”, a heavy, powerful display of classic euro-centered power metal.
Iuri’s howling vocals match Grossmann and Münzner’s instrumental speed perfectly, as he screams throughout the verses and chorus easier than taking candy from a baby, all while LePond’s magical fingers pound the bass non-stop and Pitts’ wizardry in the melodic lines put the icing on this insanely beautiful start to an album.
“Cyclopean Force” showcases the neoclassical side of the sextet with virtuous songwriting and prolific execution. The track exhales an early Symphony X vibe without losing the pure power metal essence.
When things get more rythmic and heavier, like in “Blood Brothers (The Oath)”, classics like Metalium’s ‘Millennium Metal – Chapter One’ (1999) come to mind, while when melodic and speedier lines are in place such as in “Under Crimson Moonlight”, memories of Lost Horizon’s ‘A Flame to the Ground Beneath’ (2003) will pop in your head. This happens during the whole course of the album, from showcases of technique à la Cacophony and Yngwie Malmsteen to more brutal moments akin of Stormwarrior and even Obscura. Hell, there are even some Orden Ogan-esque parts on “Triumphant Ascent”.
Every track here feels in their right place and sufficiently balanced between velocity and cadency, even the surprisingly good instrumental “Dreaming of Cimmerian Shadows”. Less fruity, more direct approaches like “Necromantic Worship” are also present, giving the experience a more than welcomed heterogeneous nature, especially when talking about power metal, which can be overwhelmingly uninspired at times.
There isn’t a single filler here, rest assured. The title track, “Horizonless”, the epic closer “Beyond the Gates of Salvation” and even the bonus track “The Arsenal” were also crafted with extreme caution and executed in an organic and clearly passionate form.
Production-wise the record is flawless, with Tougas at the production helm and legend Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) co-producing, mixing, engineering and mastering the sound, which is always a great thing. Piet also contributed in the vocal choirs and lead vocals for “The Arsenal”, while Yenz Leonhardt (ex-Iron Sabvior, ex-Stormwarrior) and Renato Osório (ex-Hibria, Magician) complete the choir for the choruses in the album.
With so many good musicians and metalheads united in one place, it’s hard not to make a memorable effort. To answer my question earlier in the review, Eternity’s End managed not only to match the quality of ‘The Fire Within’ (2016), but surpass it in every way possible.
Ace execution, impressive songwriting and passionate playing are what make ‘Unyielding’ a monster of an album, and worthy of every respect and praise. Had it came out earlier in the year, it would have definitely been on my top 5 power metal records of 2018, without a doubt; All in all, it’s actually pretty simple: if you love power metal, you can’t miss this album, period.