Friday, January 31, 2014

Eternal Legacy. Seeking No Peace.

Eternal Legacy.  Seeking No Peace.                           
Auburn Records, 2013.  Eternal Legacy:

Long-time metal heads will certainly appreciate the effort put forth by local Cleveland thrash pioneers, Eternal Legacy, on their 3rd studio release. This well-produced record spins with many different faces, and at times may feel a little unfocused, but “Seeking No Peace” is an album with more than a couple tricks up its sleeve.

The opening track starts simply enough, with a 21-second rapid instrumental opening before leading into the title track. At this point I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I am only slightly familiar with Eternal Legacy's previous work, drawing a blank on the exact sub-genre they fall into.

The album cover depicts malnourished bodies laying slovenly on the ground in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and looks like the morning after one of H.R. Gieger's house parties, with a guy front and center screaming like he’s calling to a friend of his to drive him home, while a spiked chain stretches across the scenery assuring that none of them will have a nice day. This left me expecting Seeking No Peace to be a death metal album of the Cannibal Corpse variety. How pleasantly surprised I was when the Title track, “Cauterize,” started up and I was subjected to a lethal dose of old school thrash. The whole album plays like a love letter to classic thrash, with riffs that wouldn't sound out of place in an Anthrax record circa 1985 to 1990.

After years of listening to increasingly brutal thrash bands, like Kreator, Lich King, Blood Tsunami, etc. Eternal Legacy’s return to basic thrash form is a welcome change of aggressive pace, with songs that are extremely singable and riffs that are all kinds of catchy. I even found myself humming a few while making my way downtown, walking fast or whatever. And they are thrash, despite the fact that both LastFM and Wikipedia refer to them as “power metal.” Now my elitist side might be showing quite a bit, but I think most will agree that the super fast shredding and heavy shouting vocals don't belong in the same category as a band like Nightwish. Even though on their website, Eternal Legacy do not claim to fall into any direct category of metal, even though it is very clear their influences (Metallica, Megadeth, and Merciful Fate) helped to shape their sound.

The vocals are also great, again, paying a massive tribute to the thrash kings of old, namely Metallica and Megadeth. This is the sort of album you could show someone who is only a slight fan of metal and totally convince them its one of Metallica’s early works. Combined with a heap of grizzled Mustain-esque vocal injections, with a dash of Slayer, and a sprinkling of King Diamond shrills of all things.

The last track, “While You Bleed,” especially rocks the Tom Araya vocals with some heavy-to-high techniques. Coupled with some incredibly catchy lyrics. This, however, cannot be said for every track on this record. While most of the instrumental tracks are solid to great, the lyrics are a tad shaky. On their own the lyrics are fine, if a little uninspired, but compared to better known acts the lyrics hold up about as well as a lighthouse made of glow sticks. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics fit, they just are not that interesting. The delivery is spectacular, but reading the lyrics sheet, I felt as though I was flipping through a book of thrash clichés.

For example, the song “Dielectric” is about a man on death row who is about to be executed in an electric chair. He is going to die-electric. GET IT!? While I can accept some clever wordplay, especially in my metal, this little pun made me roll my eyes. It would be fine if it was a little passing joke, but to center a song around it, makes me confused as to why they made it the second full length song on the record. Especially from a band whose other songs are of a tad more serious nature.

I dunno, maybe I’m to much of a metal snob, spoiled by years of thrash, to appreciate the efforts of lesser known acts. It wasn't even a bad song, it just didn't set my world on fire. And that pretty much sums up the entire album: luke-warm classic thrash throw backs, coupled with some stellar productions to make some quite excellent tunes. I was surprised by the overpowering use of bass, which one does not usually see used to great effect by bands like these. The bass tracks do a great job adding some much needed spice to some of the more straight forward tracks. While there are only nine tracks, the good definitely outweigh the mediocre. Tracks like “First Murder” and “Eyes Without A Soul” kicked ass. The whole album plays like a love letter to classic metal and I found it completely endearing.

According to Eternal Legacy’s website, their job is to provide the masses with heavy music, good catchy tunes, extremely energetic performances and something that lets a metalhead know what they are a part of. And Seeking No Peace fits that bill perfectly. Listen responsibly though, it may give thrash fans a heavy case of the nostalgias. Solid.

Personnel: Jason Vanek (vocals/ Rhythm guitar), Shaun Vanek (Lead guitsar/Backing guitar), Tim Frederick (Bass), Steve Dukuslow (Drums)
Tracks:  Intro, Cauterize, Dielectrick, Eyes without a Soul, Greed, Seeking no Peace, First Murder, Lie, While You Bleed.

Alistair “Crowly” Dickinson

Check out Eyes Without A Soul:

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