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Eidolon - "The Parallel Otherworld" (CD)

Eidolon - "The Parallel Otherworld" CD cover image

"The Parallel Otherworld" track listing:

1. The Parallel Otherworld
2. Arcturus 9
3. The Eternal call
4. Ghost World
5. Thousand Winters Old
6. Spirit Sanctuary
7. Order Of The White Light
8. Astral Flight
9. Shadowanderer
10. The Oath

Reviewed by on June 4, 2009

"The Drover brothers show here they are fantastic heavy metal musicians, capable of making incessantly heavy, yet subtle and varied metal."

When “The Parallel Otherworld” was released in 2006, half of Eidolon was also half of Megadeth. Brother’s Shawn and Glen Drover (drums and guitar, respectively) had been recruited by Dave Mustaine and were full-fledged Megadeth members. Glen has since left Megadeth. While Eidolon has been around since 1993, the brothers’ stint in Megadeth really gave Eidolon a shot of life. They used this notoriety and released “The Parallel Otherworld” to great, and deserved, critical acclaim.

“The Parallel Otherworld” plays more like a symphony than a rock music album. The 11-minute title track starts the album off and plays on a multitude of musical themes. The guitars alone touch practically every heavy metal genre; from jazz-fusion experimentation, to the blues-based Black Sabbath monoliths, to Pantera-esqe thrash, to neo-classical 32nd note solos and even to turbo-paced black metal riffs. Glen Drover has a broad musical background and impressive chops, and he takes center stage on the title track and throughout the album.

The other three members of the band ride in Drover’s wake. Brother Shawn Drover pounds the skins relentlessly, and bassist Adrian Robichaud follows the guitar lines without a hiccup. Unfortunately Eidolon’s rhythm section is pretty straightforward, which is surprising given the abundant prog elements on the record. Drover’s drums keep straight time through each musical section, and while fast and precise, it is almost robotic the way he moves in and out of rhythms. Each section is fully fleshed out with lots of precise drumming and skill, but the instant changes from one full drum part to another sound artificial.

The same goes for bassist Robichaud. The production on the bass is excellent, as it is easy to hear and sounds fantastic. But Robichaud spends most of his time mirroring Glen Drover’s guitar leads instead of complementing them with his own melodies. While this requires lots of skill, as Drover’s leads are diverse and challenging, it isn’t adding much to the music. The constant growling of the bass underneath the main guitar mix sounds heavy, but the music could have had another level of intensity with the bass breaking from the status quo.

Vocalist Nils K. Rue (formerly of Pagan’s Mind) does add another element to the music. His singing is a bit raspy, and tends to be in the higher registers, much like Halford and Dickenson. Rue does have range, however, as he often changes texture and octave to emphasize particular lyrical passages. With the lock-step rhythm section, this is very welcome.

The music throughout the album is varied and powerful. The musical themes from the title track all come back multiple times throughout the other nine songs on the album. The band does a fantastic job of weaving themes and ideas throughout as the songs all run together, seemingly making one long composition. “The Parallel Otherworld” could easily be mistaken for a rock opera or concept album. Maybe most amazingly the final song, a Mercyful Fate cover of “The Oath,” stays true to the original but still fits right in with the other nine original songs.

Full analysis of “The Parallel Otherworld” leaves one conclusion - Dave Mustaine chose his band mates well. The Drover brothers show here they are fantastic heavy metal musicians, capable of making incessantly heavy, yet subtle and varied metal.

Highs: The prog-thrash rocks; “Thousand Winters Old” is a particular highlight.

Lows: The rhythm section is a robotic mirror of the guitar mix.

Bottom line: Heavy and varied progressive thrash shines throughout this album from metal veterans.

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)