Melodic death metal has long frustrated me. I’ve always felt that the potential was there to make some really interesting music, but that many bands in the genre were content to simply blend Iron Maiden guitar licks with death metal vocals and leave it at that. Enter Eternal Storm. This band not only obliterates my stereotype of melodeath, but they do it by releasing almost 70 minutes of melodic death metal bliss.
First things first, how does this album sound? The short answer is that it sounds great. The production is clear and punchy, but not sterile. The musicianship is at an impressively high level all around. The guitar work deserves special note as it manages to play to fit the song, rather than to simply shred. The melodies present here revolve around the guitars, vocals, and some spare keyboards.
One balance that is tricky to get right in extreme metal is the balance between atmosphere and riffing. Thankfully, Eternal Storm nails this balance just about perfectly. Another thing to note is that while the songs tend towards the lengthy, they never overstay their welcome. The music here ebbs and flows and contains so much dynamic songwriting that the listener never has time to really get bored.
The album begins with the longest track, “An Abyss of Unreason.” The intro is slow and haunting as the blast beats build in the background. The song alternates between melodic riffing, more traditional death metal guitar work, and the atmospheric style heard on the intro. I would describe the ethos here as atmosphere meets brutality. There is an especially killer riff midway through the song. The track slows down in the back half with an intriguing synthesizer presence. Towards the end the track picks up again and is both catchy and heavy. The song is killer and a great beginning to the record.
“A Dim Illusion” follows with a groovy bass line and catchy riffing. The song, as most songs here, ebbs and flows with dynamic songwriting. One particularly appealing aspect of this tune is the drum work. There is also good use of melodic vocals on the song.
A haunting opening is found on “There Was a Wall.” The song increases in heaviness, but remains slow and crushing. You will also find a killer solo on this track, as well as melodic vocals.
“Last Refuge” kicks off in high gear, but alternates this sound with softer melodic sections. There is some good death metal riffing present on the song, as well as some of the best melodic vocals on the album. The solo that’s present is noteworthy. I would go as far as to say that this song is an album highlight.
The next track, “Eclipse,” is a lovely piece of music. However, I do think this song could have been trimmed or cut because there are already a lot of slower, melodic, and atmospheric sections throughout the album. Placed here this song could be seen as a momentum killer—or a nice breather, depending on your perspective. For my part, I like the song in isolation, but I don’t think it’s a necessary inclusion.
“Lone Tree Domain” sports melodic riffing, as well as catchy vocals and rhythms. There is also a section present that features harsh vocals overtop of softer, melodic music. It works well.
“Sleepers” is a solid track, with good vocals. The only thing missing here is a killer riff to take the song to the next level.
Quality death metal is the name of the game on “The Void.” The song even sports a brief, but beautiful acoustic section. I want to note the bass work towards the end of the song because it’s especially appealing.
The album concludes with its title track. The song begins with an atmospheric section followed by truly beautiful guitar melodies. There is really nothing more to say here other than that the song is excellent melodeath and a perfect conclusion to this album.
As I mentioned above, melodic death metal can often leave me cold, even when I respect the musicianship of many of the bands. A Giant Bound to Fall does not leave me cold in the slightest. This is melodic death metal of the highest order; it is how the genre should sound. Everything is in place for Eternal Storm here, with the dynamic songwriting being the biggest highlight. Any fans of melodeath or extreme metal in general owe it to themselves to check out this album.
Curtis’ Rating: 9/10
- An Abyss of Unreason
- A Dim Illusion
- There was a Wall
- Last Refuge
- Lone Tree Domain
- The Sleepers
- The Void
- A Giant Bound to Fall
Daniel R. Flys | Vocals (lead), guitars, keyboards, bass
Jaime Torres | Guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass, fretless bass
Daniel Maganto | Bass, guitars (additional), vocals (additional)
Session drums and percussion on this recording by Gabriel Valcázar (Wormed, Ernia)
Additional keyboards and synths by Jaboto Fernández (Nexus 6, TodoMal)
Noise and additional synths on track 1 by Roberto Bustabad (Varunian, Ovakner, Rvinas)
Additional vocals on track 2 by Sven de Caluwé (Aborted)
Additional vocals on track 4 by Kheryon
Violin on track 4 by Paul R. Flys
Additional vocals on track 6 by Eloi Boucherie (Vidres a la Sang, White Stones)
Additional vocals on track 7 by Dan Swanö
Additional vocals on track 9 by Sergi “Bobby” Verdeguer (Persefone)
Artwork by Leoncio Harmr.