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Echoes of Eternity - "As Shadows Burn" (CD)

Echoes of Eternity - "As Shadows Burn" CD cover image

"As Shadows Burn" track listing:

1. Ten Of Swords (3:55)
2. A Veiled Horizon (3:34)
3. Memories Of Blood And Gold (3:46)
4. The Scarlet Embrace (4:10)
5. Descent Of A Blackened Soul (5:19)
6. Twilight Fires (4:08)
7. Buried Beneath A Thousand Dreams (4:20)
8. Letalis Deus (3:33)
9. Funeral In The Sky (7:13)

Reviewed by on November 18, 2009

"The biggest flaw with most of the tracks is that between the melodic, sometimes poppy vocals, and the recurring tap tap drums, the tunes often drag when they should assault."

When I interviewed Francine Boucher of Echoes of Eternity, one of the things we talked about regarding their sophomore album, "As Shadows Burn," was the fact that it was much heavier in tone than their debut. As a whole, the album is a prog rock mix of thrashy guitar, sometimes almost speed power metal drums, and the occasional symphonic element, but unfortunately Boucher’s mellow but pretty vocals hold this album back from being a truly great example of progressive metal.

The opening track, "Ten of Swords," is a perfect example of how the new aggressive instrumentals still can’t help Echoes of Eternity overcome their melodic sound, as they just don’t mesh with the not quite ballady vocals. The chorus here isn’t bad, with some good sustained notes on Boucher’s part, but it’s a mediocre track at best.

The biggest flaw with most of the tracks is that between the melodic, sometimes poppy vocals, and the recurring tap tap drums, the tunes often drag when they should assault. And with the exception of "The Scarlet Embrace," Boucher’s vocals often lack any real emotion.

"Twilight Fires" is, however, a very good tune, with a dark, almost goth sounding bass, and an excellent fast paced drum tempo. The guitar work here is also very good, and makes for the best track hands down. This is followed up by another pretty good tune, "Buried Beneath A Thousand Dreams," but the repetitive drum tempo is getting old by this point.

Instrumental tracks are always hit and miss, but the fact that "As Shadows Burn" closes with one was probably a poor decision. "Funeral in the Sky" is not only nearly twice as long as the other songs, but even with the slowly climbing guitar and tension before switching to a hard rock sound, there’s just not anything special with this track. If Echoes of Eternity really wanted to include this one on the release, tucking it somewhere in the middle as an intermission would have been a much better decision than as a farewell note.

Echoes of Eternity has managed to deliver a heavier sound with "As Shadows Burn," but it’s still not anything to warrant a huge new fan following. If you like female-fronted bands, Boucher’s voice is strong enough to tantalize, but if the vocals aren’t your focus, and you’re looking for solid progressive metal, you probably want to keep on looking.

Highs: "Twilight Fires" adds a nice goth sound, and Boucher’s vocals on "The Scarlet Embrace" are raw and chocked full of emotion.

Lows: Repetitive, often dragging drum tempo makes most of the tracks mediocre.

Bottom line: An improvement over their debut, but Echoes of Eternity still has a way to go to be a major contender in the progressive metal scene.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)