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Eldritch - Gaia's Legacy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.36 | 9 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Eldritch's 'Gaia's Legacy' is a prog metal concept album performed with precision metal riffing and keyboard finesse by a quintet from Italy. They have a sound akin to Helloween or Symphony X, driven by the high register clear vocals of Terence Holler. The musicianship consists of Eugene Simone on lead and rhythm guitars, Gabriele Caselli's keyboards, Rudj Ginanneschi's guitars, and the rhythm is maintained by John Crystal's bass, and Raffahell Dridge's drums. 'Gaia's Legacy' is the 8th album for Eldritch and it is a high powered metal sound with the symphonic touch of keyboard soloing similar to Dream Theater's Rudess. It begins with 'Gaia's Anger', an atmospheric wind howls, we hear a news broadcast that Hurrican Katrina slammed into New Orleans and then we are on our way with the technical hurricane riffing of 'Deviation' that shows the power metal style of the band. Holler's vocals especially maintain a strong melody, so well performed. The track has a speed metal tempo, juxtaposed by a plethora of passages where lightning fast keyboard runs and manic riffing are unleashed. 'Our Land' is a fast and furious track with Caselli's extended keyboard solo, along with some blistering lead guitar work from Ginanneschi.

The first outstanding track, as far as a highlight on the album, comes with the breakneck hyper riffing of 'Vortex Of Disaster'. The angular riff is Slayer like and melts into the background when Holler sings of chemical disaster, and human extinction at the hands of governmental control, the themes of the album; 'in the skies now we can see chemical reaction that will change our lives, a vortex of disaster should make us think'. The lead break has a fret melting arpeggio run and then the riff settles into a fractured time sig as keyboard runs in an urgent chord structure.

'Mother Earth' continues the theme that it is maybe too late to change the looming disaster, even including some dialogue that we cannot do anything about it. The lyrics search for an answer that 'we all should give a hand and join up our forces, and try to give a future for whoever will come after us'. This track has a measured tempo and as a result is a lot more melancholy. There is a complex chord change that misses a beat very effectively, and the lead break is again a searing display of lightning fast fret work, and the twin guitars of Simone and Ginanneschi are reminiscent of Iron Maiden.

'Everything's Burning' has a Slayeresque machine gun riff that attacks in a choppy time sig. Holler takes on a heavier more aggressive mood as he sings of the planet burning to ash; 'the ozone hole is growing wide permitting rays of light and heat to come to the ground.' The song mentions that greenhouse gasses will destroy the environment, and questions are asked 'how long shall we take this, what's wrong, what is the reason, how long will the sun burn, everythings burning in the air, all our hopes are burning with the sun.' The instrumental section has incredible riffing and speedy lead work along with high pitched trilling and string breaking bends. There are also fast keyboard runs, in this powerful song.

'Tonight Out' is driven by an odd time sig with complex chunky riffs. The theme of a doomed planet continues; 'cracks on the ground are open wide while the heat is rising', and 'the fossil fuel keeps on burning dry, clouds are changing density, its no longer raining'. It is a heavy handed message and is given power with the incessant thrashing of guitars.

'Like A Child' is another fast paced belter, with consistent power metal riffing, and a solid melodic structure. There are a plethora of lead solos and blazing keyboards. The thrash metal style will appeal to those into fast speed metal bands such as Testament, Kreator, vintage Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Tourniquet. 'Signs' is a 6 minute track that begins with political spoken word, an intriguing slice of dialogue followed by applause. This sets the scene and then mega heavy riffs dominate. The song slows the pace down a bit, but the distorted riffs are prominent. Later the riff changes sig with a complex technical rhythm to allow keys to chime over. Small outbursts of lead guitar flood through, and then the bass solo of Crystal along with the syncopated percussion of Dridge paints a new landscape.

'Thoughts Of Grey' opens with spoken word about how it is human nature to not see that a day of reckoning is coming where we will be able to connect the dots to unravel the puzzle of how we are destroying our planet. The steady paced metal on this sounds similar to Helloween's 'Keeper of the Seven Keys.' It moves into a broken tempo as a foundation for lead guitar hammer ons and keyboard trade offs. The lyrics are poignant; 'While the warm wind blows and the skies are seeming to fall down on me, everything is changing comprising my soul, my thoughts are clear.'

'Thirst In Our Hands (Gaia's Lament)' is blessed with a classical piano solo, then a slow spacey synth tempo is heard as very gentle vocals come in asking, 'how do you feel now, let's save a diamond keep it for the thirsty land to build a bottlewater well.' The theme here is that the distribution of wealth is controlled, and not equal therefore we should join our hearts and hands to help the suffering. I have to admire the sincere passion infused in this album to try to change the world on this slow ballad, and there is a soaring lead break from both guitarists and some glorious Mellotron strings. It really is a beautiful song, with an infectious melodic chorus.

'Through Different Eyes' is the album closer, and the metal riffs return with sporadic axe blasts. This has a more traditional metal feel rather than speed metal; the album has definitely become more melancholy after the intense start. The lyrics are again suggesting how we may change our perspective or worldview; 'through different eyes we keep looking for what we lack, changing minds take us away and you can't go back, to different times our ageless eyes free from sorrow, changing eyes will hold the past from tomorrow'. This catchy chorus is reminiscent of Metallica especially in the way it is delivered.

The album is based heavily on the concept of saving the planet from environmental disaster quite obviously and it works as the musicianship is aggressive enough, and the lyrics sufficiently potent for a listener to take it seriously. Although Eldritch's lyrics are preachy in terms of demanding action for the environmental changes that will proposedly doom Earth, it is a thought provoking concept that gives the listener something definite to latch onto. The metal is constant on the album, with some killer riffing and awesome guitar and keyboard solos. The vocals are endearing, never overdoing it with snarling or growling which gives this album more power. I recommend 'Gaia's Legacy' to fans of thrash or speed metal with progressive complexity.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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