Eclipse (Canada, Laval) – Already Dead… But Alive!

Let’s get straight to the point: the music on this EP is pretty good overall but handicapped by the production. Yes, all the instruments are clear enough, but lack definition and power, two factors which are pretty crucial in power metal, leaving you with songs that you know are a decent listen, but don’t seem to hook you nearly as well as they would otherwise, with a higher budget. It doesn’t ruin the music, obviously, but it’s the most clearly undesirable aspect on this EP. With that out of the way:

Eclipse are a five-piece power/prog group out of Canada. Reference points: Symphony X, a brighter Evergrey, Blind Guardian; the usual suspects. The prog is pretty subtle, thankfully, relegated mostly to tastefully written piano interludes and a bit of Savatage-style bombast, with the rest of the music being composed of pure power metal with a bit of thrash, and even the former is closer to USPM than Euro. The music itself is catchy and riff-based, with a surprisingly subdued keyboard accompaniment, best evidenced on opener ‘Warlords Of Legend’. A good deal of emphasis is placed on high-speed shredding as well, though it tends to be not entirely masturbatory, and does add to the songs as a whole. Vocals are clean and effectively delivered, if sometimes a bit restrained, and drum and bass performances are solid and functional. But that damned production!

This isn’t especially unique, but it’s good at what it does. The riffs are quite good, traditional power metal riffs. The solos are pretty fiery and well defined, without ever venturing into meaningless scale runs or trite, utterly predictable patterns. Additionally, the band does show some ambition attempting a ten minute closing track, and it actually works pretty well, going through a multitude of cascading sections, with frequent changes of riffs and texture throughout. The band even fares well on the infamous power metal ballad; in this case, third track ‘Destiny’, which takes the pattern established by a band like Hammerfall, removes some of the bombast, and comes out with a generally enjoyable track.

Eclipse is a notch above most power metal bands; in the style of bands like Nicta or In Virtue, they’re avoiding the keyboard call of the Rhapsody style that so defines PM these days in favor of a more aggressive, demanding variety, of which we can be thankful. A good listen for power metal fans looking for something with a bit more intensity to it and aren’t expecting Hollywood Soundtrack Metal.

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~ by noktorn on August 30, 2007.

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