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Echoes of Eternity - "The Forgotten Goddess" (CD)

Echoes of Eternity - "The Forgotten Goddess" CD cover image

"The Forgotten Goddess" track listing:

1. Burning With Life (1:34)
2. Expressions of Flesh (4:11)
3. Voices in a Dream (4:47)
4. Towers of Silence (4:25)
5. The Forgotten Goddess (4:48)
6. The Kingdom Within (6:17)
7. Circles in Stone (4:56)
8. Garden of the Gods (4:51)
9. Lost Beneath a Silent Sky (4:27)
10. Adrift (1:58)

Reviewed by on January 12, 2009

"The musical skill is there, but everything sounds a little too orchestrated – mapped out to the point of losing any real connection to the listener. "

Echoes of Eternity often tout themselves as a progressive metal act, and seem to have fallen victim to the name-that-subgenre game so rife in the media, attracting descriptions like “power” and “thrash” with little or no merit. Although their debut, “The Forgotten Goddess,” does contain some progressive elements and tries to flaunt itself as a melting pot of styles, the band’s overall sound is more along the lines of gothic metallers Lacuna Coil, Leaves Eyes, Sirenia and Within Temptation. However, this could be giving the L.A. based group a bit too much credit.

Recorded over a six-month period in Venice, CA at RavensWork Studios, “The Forgotten Goddess” is the unfortunate by-product of stagnant songwriting and poor production value, which is especially disappointing, considering drummer Kirk Carrison and vocalist Francine Boucher first met while attending recording school. That’s not to say “The Forgotten Goddess” isn’t a half decent debut, just that it could have been a lot better.

As far as the drumming goes, it is far too static and lacks the dynamic drive to keep up with the ideas behind the guitars, which do manage to punch out some heavy mid-tempo grooves when they’re not busy being unimaginatively repetitive. For example, “Voices in a Dream” kicks off with some funky riffage. It was interesting the first time. After more than four minutes, it is mind-numbingly dull. Then, when the title track starts a couple tunes later, you’d swear you got a misprint. The riff is eerily reminiscent of “Voices,” so definitely not spooky in fun way.

Speaking of spooky, Boucher’s vocals are earthy, ethereal and sound like they weren’t recorded for the songs they were layered on top of. Although Boucher can hold a note and is capable of creating a spacey and dreamlike atmosphere, she truthfully lacks enough aggression to feed off the music of the rest of the band, and vice versa. Granted, there isn’t a lot of room for her to move around within the arrangements, she comes across as void of any real emotion, as though the words aren’t hers or mean nothing to her. The vocals are also so seriously overdubbed to the point of wondering if Boucher is actually singing, or if her voice was just pitch shifted to death with ProTools. Mix in the oversaturated effects and the lyrical repetition, and she may as well be reciting a computer manual.

In fact, perhaps bass player Duane Cowan could do a little writing, and then he might seem like he’s contributing something. I really feel bad for bass players. Sometimes, they’re given the acknowledgment they deserve, but more often that not, they’re relegated to being buried under the other musical elements. Where’s the inspiration to be heard? So we can’t really blame Cowan for the bass lines on “The Forgotten Goddess,” even if he does rely too heavily on standard and predictable patterns, that is, when he isn’t busy being virtually non-existent.

The entire album does sound as though it was fairly well plotted and implemented with commitment, but somewhere along the way they just forgot to put in a little of themselves. The technique is there, but everything sounds a little too orchestrated – mapped out to the point of losing any real connection to the listener.

“If we remain separate, we cannot exist,” sings Boucher during the chorus of the title track. She’s referring to “The Forgotten Goddess” and “truth” here, but Echoes of Eternity would do well to apply that metaphor to their technique and emotional presence for a follow-up that would surely “replace what is missing.”

Until then, the only thing about this album I won’t be forgetting is the cover art: a blood-splattered goddess statue before a dank and misty forest of dismal grey. How’s that for a little irony?

Highs: The tunes are really catchy the first time around and you'll want to listen again.

Lows: After you listen to this more than once, you'll start looking for your receipt.

Bottom line: If you dig fast food-style metal, this is for you. If you like a little substance...

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)