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Neaera - "Forging The Eclipse" (CD)

Neaera - "Forging The Eclipse" CD cover image

"Forging The Eclipse" track listing:

1. The Forging (1:00)
2. Heaven's Descent (3:41)
3. In Defiance (3:16)
4. Eight Thousand Sorrows Deep (4:17)
5. Arise Black Vengeance (3:04)
6. Rubikon (2:52)
7. Sirens of Black (4:31)
8. Certitude (2:50)
9. Exaltation (3:28)
10. Tyranny of Want (3:35)
11. The Prophecy (3:37)
12. And to Posterity a Plague (3:44)

Reviewed by on December 31, 2010

"It’s just twelve tracks of deathcore checking off the boxes one by one."

When I was a kid, I learned one of those repetitive songs that uses the same lines over and over, and in particular, I remember the refrain, which went “second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a whole lot worse!” When I reviewed Neaera’s 2009 full-length “Omnicide – Creation Unleashed,” I found a decently-done, but very repetitive, album. This year’s long player, “Forging the Eclipse,” isn’t worse than “Omnicide” - it’s even on quality - but it sure does sound the same.

Well, to be fair, it isn’t exactly the same; Neaera has added a few more melodic death metal elements and blackened shrieks to the deathcore mix. “In Defiance” has a nice blend of melodic leads and brutal underpinnings running through the changing tempos. But these things eventually get swallowed by the chugging deathcore and disappear a few songs into the album.

The other problem that crops up a few songs into “Forging the Eclipse” is that the album becomes very homogeneous. Some of the first six tracks have bits and pieces that are interesting – “Heaven’s Descent” has a good groove, “Rubikon” has some softer parts that are good breaks from the chug, and even the mushy and messy swirl of “Eight Thousand Sorrows Deep” has some appeal before its layers completely overwhelm any semblance of a song – but the back half of “Forging the Eclipse” is a complete throwaway.

These last five songs, plus one interlude, are either the very definition of filler, deathcore by numbers, or both: chugging downtuned guitars, throaty growls, a handful of solos and plenty of breakdowns when everything gets extra-special stale. The painful kick in the nuts for the skull rating is that there isn’t much that differentiates the first half of “Forging the Eclipse” from the back half, except it happens to come first. Can both halves be filler depending on how they were ordered? Apparently.

Now maybe I missed something; maybe this is very well executed and heavy deathcore with all the necessary elements in place for a neck-snapping. But I’ve listened to this album well over twenty times, straining to find that glimmer, and it isn’t there. It’s just twelve tracks of deathcore checking off the boxes one by one.

Those songs I learned as a kid tended to annoy my parents and any other adults present. About the time I got down to the mid-seventies in “99 Bottles of Beer,” my father would instruct me to close my flapping flapper. Well, I am an adult now, and after listening to “Forging the Eclipse” a couple dozen times, I am really annoyed.

Highs: “Heaven’s Descent” has a good groove and combination of vocals and riffs. It also happens to be the first true song on the album.

Lows: The grating shrieked vocals add to the repetitive nature of the music.

Bottom line: Deathcore by numbers creates an album of filler.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)