Wednesday, March 21, 2018

favorite album of the week: March 18th-24th

[Below is my choice for album of the week. At the end of the review there is a lyric video from the album.--MMB.]
Scarlet Records
23 March 2018
The adult contemporary band Eldritch (Italy) is known for quality progressive music (which they always intended when they gave themselves their particular name in honor of progressive metal), but in my view, especially since 2014’s Tasting the Tears and 2015’s Underlying Issues, they have taken an exciting turn by complementing the intelligence of their music with lyrics that grapple with the emotions of relationships and life experiences, including topics like health problems (insomnia, on this new work). Politics, social problems and emotions have always been part of Eldritch, but now we see them moving away a bit from politics and social issues and instead embracing a personal approach to the lyrics.
They have built a discography characterized by quality in the music, but to understand the band’s music it’s necessary to put together the moving parts that comprise Eldritch. One of the most interesting things about the guitar sound is that there is a substantial thrash element in it, but it may not be obvious at first. The thrash is there all over, the guitar has a relatively clear, ear-friendly tone, and the band often goes into headbanging moments, with fast and uptempo moments, but there is more to the songwriting. Sometimes you might be taken aback by how the band will go from a melodic thrash song to a different song of vulnerability and fear, or a song that illustrates their progressive roots. They manage to cover a lot of ground, and it might be frustrating to a listener wanting all the songs to be the similar, but very pleasing to the audiences that look forward to hearing a band take them through a wider range. They also have a singer who, in my judgement, is perfect for the band and who has a good singing voice, a soulful voice, and the singing is one the highlights of the album.
The band has made an album that is another important piece to its discography. From the sounds of it, the album has everything that supporters of the style want: the band’s signature singing and the trademark songs. I get the impression that this is a very good Eldritch album because the quality and the songwriting is as good as it always has been, perhaps even better now in the latter, more mature era of the band.
New listeners should know what to expect. So much metal music works with anger and aggression in the sound and lyrics. While it is true that some extreme metal explores depression and some feelings other than aggression and hate, the screaming, growling and hollering hardly sounds vulnerable, but vulnerability is a constant theme in Eldritch music and the singing, when necessary, is vulnerable, and communicates loneliness, confusion, desperation, as well as confidence, trust and love, and still sounds like a real heavy metal band, albeit an adult contemporary band for people looking for more than anger, hatred and an obnoxious personality of braggadocio. Eldritch is a band that has been recording music since 1991, and its origins reach back even further. As the years have passed they have only gotten better at their art, refining it, and this is what the latest chapter documents. In plain words, if you are interested in a band that plays music for people looking for themes of personal and emotional dis/connections, then you may find the Italian progressive teachers to be just what the doctor ordered.
ELDRITCH - As The Night Crawls In (Lyric Video)

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