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Ekpyrosis - "All You Can Eat" (2-CD Set)

Ekpyrosis - "All You Can Eat" 2-CD Set cover image

"All You Can Eat" track listing:

Disc 1
1. Neuralgia
2. Earth-Bound
3. My Hands Are Tied
4. The Art Of Living
5. Behind The Mask
6. Yellow Eyes
7. See You Again
8. Destination

Disc 2
1. Addicted
2. Madhouse
3. The Underground Is Where It Happens
4. Behind The Mask Part II
5. Like Master, Like Man
6. Gun
7. Dear Sophie
8. Release Me From Your Spell

Reviewed by on April 20, 2009

"I guess being a bit over-stuffed isn't really a problem for an album called 'All You Can Eat.'"

With "All You Can Eat," Ekpyrosis serves up a tasty buffet of heavy metal in a variety of styles. Yes, the band refers to itself as a power metal band on its web site, but that's really only part of the story. Sure, it has a keyboard part, but "Neuralgia," which opens the double album, also has elements of thrash that make it sound quite a bit like something Megadeth might have put out in the 1990s.

"Earth-Bound" continues the thrash-with-keyboards motif, with the guitars and drums racing along at about 1,000 miles per hour in the beginning. Vocalists Christian Gruber and Thomas Prethaler spit out the lyrics with grit and attitude that mirror Hetfield and Mustaine much more than, say, ZP Theart of DragonForce.

Then, the record takes a left turn with "My Hands Are Tied," which starts with a fantastic drum-and-bass breakdown from Thomas Prethaler and Helmut Winter, before going into something that sounds almost like a power ballad in some ways.

"The Art Of Living" is the first time that the band adopts the somewhat lighter sound associated with power metal — but even then, the vocals remain heavier. Power metal fans will delight in "Yellow Eyes," which begins with a classic power metal guitar squeal before taking off with fast-paced guitars and keyboards.

Ekpyrosis seemingly tips their hat to Anthrax in the opening of "Madhouse," which, though it sounds nothing like the classic Anthrax song of the same name, features the racing thrash guitar and drums that Anthrax is famous for.

The band then veers splendidly into classic rock territory with "The Underground Is Where It Happens," which seems like it could be a long-lost Deep Purple track in parts, especially in the pure Blackmore guitar solo that transitions into a blast of organ that sounds like something Jon Lord let loose in the '70s.

Like any album of significant length, this one starts to drag a little at the end, and I'm certain that "All You Can Eat" would've been improved by removing the ballad "Dear Sophie," which is the only time the band veers into sappy territory. Without "Dear Sophie," the album would've been a long single disc at around 74 minutes, instead of a short double album at around 82. Still, I guess being a bit over-stuffed isn't really a problem for an album called "All You Can Eat."

With "All You Can Eat," Ekpyrosis has created two discs of fulfilling metal that will please most metal tastes.

Highs: The classic rock of "The Underground Is Where It Happens," the thrasher "Madhouse," and the pure power metal of "Yellow Eyes."

Lows: The album overstays its welcome just a bit, and could've been trimmed to a single disc.

Bottom line: A splendid album that blends several metal genres successfully.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)