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Eternal Storm – A Giant Bound to Fall

Eternal Storm – A Giant Bound to Fall

Eternal Storm - A Giant Bound to Fall

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: 16 February, 2024
  • Label: Transcending Obscurity
  • Musicians:
    Daniel Maganto - Bass, Guitars, Vocals
    Jaime Torres - Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
    Daniel R. Flys - Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals (lead)
  • Favorite songs:
    A Dim Illusion, Last Refuge
  • For Fans of:
    Insomnium, Swallow the Sun, An Abstract Illusion, Dark Tranquility

I found out about Eternal Storm because their vocalist and guitarist, Daniel R. Flys, recently became the new vocalist for Persefone, and as a self-proclaimed Persefone fanboy, I knew that this was gonna be on the mandatory listening list. However, I must stress that my fanboyism does not translate across different bands all that easily, so I’m hoping this will be a fairly unbiased review. Regardless, it will be a positive one, because holy bananas, I did not expect this album to hit me like it did. Eternal Storm’s latest studio release, “A Giant Bound to Fall”, might just be the best melodic death metal release I’ve heard in years. First of all, it’s 69 minutes long, which means not only that you can have a giggle at that number and wonder whether it was intentional, but also that you can really sink into this album and forget everything else for a significant amount of time. It takes a lot to make that stretch of time relevant, but after a few listens, I can quite easily say they made it worth the time. The songs are long, complex journeys, developing intense, emotional build-ups, atmosphere, suspense and payoff. The entire album has a great sense of continuity, as well as a strong atmospheric component that makes the run time easily digestible and helps keep the listener engaged all the way through.

If I were to pick some bands to compare Eternal Storm with, they would be Insomnium, Swallow the Sun, An Abstract Illusion and Dark Tranquillity, in that order. That is just to give you an idea of the sound and vibes you should expect. There is a lot of sadness, melancholy, rage and grandeur, delivered through epic soundscapes and raw catharsis, very similar to what these Finnish and Swedish metal bands have been doing for a long time. This album is not exactly reinventing the wheel, but rather paying homage to a style and sound that has been around for decades, and doing so in a spectacular manner.

The monstrous, 13-minute long opening track, ‘An Abyss of Unreason’, is not only unreasonably long but also unreasonably scarring on an emotional level. It starts off with a light breeze of melancholy that gets gradually amped up by blast beats, to a magnanimous level of epic, before the riffs crash down and it all starts to descend into madness. The song is a constant interplay of soaring epic soundscapes and downward dragging riffage, often connecting the parts with brief moments of atmosphere. The lyrics seem to describe a descent into madness: not in the typical paranoid aesthetic, but rather in the form of a poetic tragedy, acknowledging humanity’s proclivity for ignorance and foolish self-deception. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, which appears to be a journey of redemption, acceptance or rediscovery, as these barriers then need to be broken down for something else to rise. It is not, however, presented in a linear narrative flow, nor does it peak back into triumph. It rather deals with the struggles in between and concludes by zooming out on a greater idea, which is also contained in the title. Every giant is bound to fall, whether it be a prosperous civilization living in harmony, or a corrupt and degenerate status quo. The other thing that I find very interesting about the lyrical approach is that it is kept abstract. The seemingly random choice of the words “we” and “us” versus “I” or “me” blurs the border between a collective phenomenon, akin to a society, or an individual struggle, perhaps to leave that interpretation open to the listener, or better yet, to suggest that the two aren’t all that different. Society moves in similar patterns to the individual. Maybe it even is the individual. I wouldn’t know for sure whether these messages are what the band intended, but it should give you an idea of the grandiose scale and contemplative nature of the lyrics.

Eternal Storm – The Void

Now, on to the music. I previously mentioned melodic death metal, and made it clear that we’re dealing with a melancholic approach to the genre. The cool thing about this approach, as opposed to, for example, Children of Bodom or Amon Amarth’s more straightforward writing, is that it opens doors for all the darker metal subgenres, particularly black and doom metal. Throughout the album there are plenty of blast beat driven sections with soaring tremolo picking melodies creating a raw, wall of sound effect, like what you’d expect in an atmospheric black metal band. The main difference is that the sound is a bit more crisp, particularly on the drums, where the sound brings more attack. Drummer Gabriel Valcázar, who is not an official member of the band, pulled off a fantastic performance, showing extreme technique and stamina when it comes to playing fast, but also enough versatility to work through build-ups, play with open space and delicacy on atmospheric sections, creating detailed grooves and thunderous headbang moments. And there’s a coating of progressive tendencies as well, when the music invites it. On top of this, the official band members, Daniel R. Flys, Daniel Maganto, and Jaime Torres, do not select specific roles for the band. Each has contributed their share on bass, guitars and keyboards, with Daniel R. Flys taking the lead vocal lines, with the others contributing backing vocals as well. And I think you can hear that in the music. It doesn’t feel like each instrument has its own identity or style, but rather like they’re all mingled together in the broader sound. Particularly on the heavier parts, everything comes together to pack one humongous punch of melancholy.

But there are also sections that are more directed on certain instruments. For example, the outro riff to ‘A Dim Illusion’ is fully focused on stink-faces and headbangs, the intro riff to ‘Last Refuge’ is all about blast beats, and the entirety of ‘Eclipse’ is focused on clean guitar. Clean guitar parts play a huge role in building atmosphere: sometimes on their own, other times over the riffs, and often paired with the keyboards. What’s very interesting is how this can make the music raw at times and more coated at other times, by choosing when, and to what degree to use these elements. At times, all coating might just clear out to shine a spotlight on a certain riff or theme, but it will then gradually creep back in, layer after layer, over that repeating theme. This ingenious trick is also how the band can use a lot of repetition, without causing monotony. After a theme was spotlighted and solidified into your brain for a few bars, it can become the structural background as new details grab your attention, keeping you in that solid theme you got used to but giving you sprinkles of novelty at the same time. It’s a fantastic way to make sure things don’t get boring, but they also don’t get overbearing or chaotic.

Eternal Storm – A Giant Bound to Fall

Lastly, I must give some love to the bass and vocals. In this metal subgenre, there isn’t a lot of bass love. It’s usually the functional instrument that keeps the low frequencies of the music solid, enabling the massive sound. But these guys stepped it up a notch. On moments like the atmospheric ‘Eclipse’ or the outro to ‘The Void’, the bass shines through quite clearly and it sounds so fluid that it makes me wonder whether it’s fretless. Given the corrosive sound on vocals and guitars, this smooth sound on the bass works wonders in connecting the melancholic fluff to the aggression. Daniel’s vocals are quite sharp and shrieky at times, causing a lot of sorrow and catharsis, but when he switches to lower registers, especially if he synchronizes that with a stinky riff, everything gets dominant and monstrous! There is also a lot of vocal layering, sometimes synchronizing low and high screams, or screams with clean singing, and at times overlapping more than one vocal line, which again, helps to build that epic scale.

In the end, whether you look at this album through an emotional lens, or an analytical and critical lens, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Eternal Storm explore complex ideas, deliver them through raw and unaltered emotion, and do so using brilliant musical ideas delivered with fantastic execution. The album was mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö, which should speak volumes regarding the quality of the sound. Now if all of the above isn’t enough to drag you out of your day-to-day routine for the funny number of minutes needed to give this album a spin, then I will leave you with my favourite lyrical line on the record, one that should make you relate to that exact daily routine: “Too tired to awake, too vigilant to dream”. If that’s you, you need this album!

Track List:

  1. An Abyss of Unreason (13:35)
  2. A Dim Illusion (07:18)
  3. There Was a Wall (05:07)
  4. Last Refuge (10:00)
  5. Eclipse (04:06)
  6. Lone Tree Domain (09:27)
  7. The Sleepers (06:27)
  8. The Void (06:27)
  9. A Giant Bound to Fall (06:46)

About the Author

Andrei Dan

Born and raised in Romania, currently living and studying in the Netherlands, Andrei was introduced to both classic and modern prog at once when he discovered Symphony X and Intervals in 2015. He has quickly grown fond of all the sub-categories of metal but keeps a focus on progressive or innovative music. Most of his free time is spent keeping track of new artists or releases and visiting concerts.

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