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Echoes of Eternity - As Shadows Burn CD (album) cover

AS SHADOWS BURN

Echoes of Eternity

 

Progressive Metal

3.38 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

usa prog music
4 stars Echoes of Eternity's new release, As Shadows Burn, is a rocking progressive metal release a lot harder than my usual listening habits, but quite enjoyable none the less. If you're familiar with their earlier album, the Forgotten Goddess, then you might be surprised by this newer CD; it's got a more powerful, heavier feel to it than some of the sounds of their debut work. Comprised of eight vocal tracks and a single instrumental piece at the end of the album, the CD reminded me a lot of Krypteria's 2007 release Bloodangel's Cry.

There's a plethora of guitars when you listen to the CD. Two electrics and one base round out the instrumentals, and the group uses the versatility that having two "leading" guitars brings by frequently exchanging complex melodies between them. The bass influences are subtle, or perhaps I'm confusing the bass guitar for one of the other ones during some pieces; the real stars of the instrumental line?as you would suspect?remain the other guitars.

The instrumental sound remains very similar to their last release, but the vocals have been changed. On the Forgotten Goddess, lead singer Francine Boucher was accompanied by an echoing, ethereal effect giving tracks a gothic feel. As Shadows Burn breaks from this motif and gives Boucher free reign to rise or fall on her own merits. She rises; boy, does she ever rise. Many groups use a male back-up singer to play "beast" to the leading lady's "Beauty," but not these guys. Especially on the eighth track, Letalis (Latin: Lethal), but throughout all of the vocal pieces, her soaring soprano is complemented by the harsher sounds of the lead guitarists who often harmonize with her melody lines.

The percussion provides the pounding, driving beats that you would expect from a metal group. Sometimes, accompanied by the roar of the guitars, they approach thrash metal sounds, but these do not overpower the other progressive elements throughout. The ninth track?the instrumental?might be one of the heaviest pieces on the album (probably only beaten by Twilight Fire, the sixth), and it well represents not only the technical precision of the percussionist, whose rhythms are frequently set to full-automatic, but also the musicality of the entire instrumental line up. The heavier, thrash-y beginning switches about one-third of the way through the piece to a very melodic sound highlighting their versatility with respect to their songwriting. This variety, especially in tempo, is highlighted elsewhere; for example, the first track, Ten of Swords.

Probably my only criticism of the album as a whole is that the sound is a little repetitious. Almost all the tracks begin at the same tempo?at the same speed?and with similar percussive rhythms. While some alter that tempo throughout the life of the track, the beginnings feel similar to me. The vocal lines have some common elements to them, too, especially instrumental drop-outs behind Boucher's vocal line. Taken as a whole, these criticisms in no way retract from my enjoyment of the album and, frankly, I didn't even begin to notice them during casual, early listening; my ears may have been tainted by the need to listen and re-listen in advance of writing this review.

As Shadows Burn is available in stores and online on September 22 , 2009 in North America; Europe has to wait until Friday the 25th for access. If you've heard their earlier work, you'll be able to hear the growth of the band's sound within the last two years. This growth has brought them to a place where they can appeal to an audience that may not have appreciated their earlier gothic influence, while remaining true to the instrumental sound of the past should keep returning fans listening until their next release.

usa prog music | 4/5 |

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