Italian metallers Eldritch have been around for quite some time already, and here at Metalrage, we've covered most of their work up till now. While their latest release, Blackenday, has hit the stores and is doing well in sales, the gents decided to continue the re-mastering of their older work (Seeds of Rage, Headquake – red) to give the fans some insight in the band’s history. This time, the album on my plate is called El Niño. And frankly, adding a little salt wouldn’t hurt.
In early days, Eldritch labelled their style melodic techno thrash, but in present times it has evolved into melodic progressive metal. It’s a style that suites them. While their thrash / speed metal songs sounded a bit cheesy (I mean ‘Before I die x3 – whoo ho ho hooooo / repeat x4, c’mooooon…) and didn’t feel natural, the progressive approach fits like a glove.
The techno variable – or cream cheese, so to speak - although not apparent, is still faintly present. 'Fall From Grace', the album’s intro, begins with a seemingly programmed keyboard line. In general, the keyboards sound like an organ, which makes it sound like 80s movie metal sometimes. Where’s the spice? It sounds neither dark nor happy, which makes it tough to say whether I like or dislike these electronic elements.
The guitars do their job thoroughly; 'Bleed Mask Bleed' and 'To Be Or Not To Be' are the faster songs on the album and some shredded meat always adds a welcome flavour to any Italian dish. Interesting and challenging riffs, complex (yet short) solos and occasional intermezzos are the foundation of Eldritch’s sound. On the other hand, most of the vocals, today’s sauce, sound quite fragile and miss a lot of the passion that can make or break a great progressive band. Wait, I’m sure I had a flask of grinded peppers here…
Mix the whole up, let it smother in the oven for a good hour and presto! We’ve got El Niño. After tasting a little, you’ll find it no real disappointment. On the other hand, nothing can top granny’s lasagna. Yum.
2 No Direction Home
3 Heretic Beholder
5 Bleed Mask Bleed
6 The Last Days Of The Year
7 From Dusk Till Dawn
8 To Be Or Not To Be (God)
9 Nebula Surface (former hidden track)
10 El Niño
11 Dreaming (previously unreleased)
12 Intoxicated ('98 demo)
13 Sparkling Vision ('97 demo)
14 In My Will ('98 demo)
15 Unfairy Tale ('98 demo)
16 Deadicated ('98 demo)
Eugene Simone - guitar&backing vocals
Oleg Smirnoff - synthezisers, piano, FXs
Martin Kyhn - bass, backing vocals
Adriano Dal Canto - drums