Echoes of Eternity
have really honed in and expanded their metallic abilities while adding another dimension to their line up on their 2009 sophomore release “As Shadows Burn
”. At the core of this band’s philosophy is maintaining a sense of musical integrity with two vastly opposing sounds - each awesome in their own right - with the more difficult task of making it all work. In that sense, this album is a direct hit.
The greatest contribution has to be from new guitarist Bryan Eagle. It is impossible to say merely looking at the finished work what exactly he brought to the writing table, but it is obvious that the addition of a second guitarist has resulted at the very least another layer of harmonious texture. “Descent of a Blackened
Soul” and “Twilight
Fires” are two songs that greatly exhibit overlapping guitar parts and harmonies. During movements that call for a more concerted effort, the depth of tone and volume is much more prevalent and thus, more appreciated (“Buried beneath a Thousand Dreams” and the instrumental “Funeral
in the Sky”). The most delightful surprise, however, may be application of other styles of metal of top of a basic template of thrash. “The Scarlet Embrace”, “Descent of a Blackened
Soul,” and “Twilight
Fires” have tinges of traditional black metal strumming. The overall speed of the album is extremely fast, at the very least extreme thrash, but could also be classic speed and death. Altogether, these are plusses not previously seen before, so if any of it comes from Eagle, directly or not, then the line up change is an amazing positive.
Of course, the magic of Echoes of Eternity
is still the clean, angelic vocal styling of Francine Boucher. With the single exception of a black metal background scream on “Twilight
Fires”, the vocal output is all hers. Boucher; however, is not without her own improvements. This time around, the vocal tracks are stripped down of dubs and voice effects. The end result is much more organic, natural, and real. How she holds herself up against the windfall of aggressive thrash all around her is probably her most impressive attribute. There are some parts that slow down and soften up to give her spotlight, but they are few and far between. Her mastery of melody is self-evident. The best song on the album could be “A Veiled Horizon
” for this very reason. It’s a slower than average song, but the chorus is poignant and very melodic.
For those who enjoy clean, female vocals behind an aggressive assault of heavy thrash with a flair for melody, then Echoes of Eternity
is your band, but for anyone who just likes great metal music, “As Shadows Burn
” was one of the better albums to have come out in 2009.