Eternal Helcaraxe were formed in 2003 with the intention of writing a black Metal project based on raw emotion and atmosphere. The EP 'To Whatever End' was released in 2010 and finally after a couple of line-up changes the black/epic Metallers from Cavan, Ireland have released the aptly titled 'Against All Odds'.
This is a consistent album which flows fluidly from track to track: very atmospheric, emotive, melancholic at times and even folky sounding in places but the strong overall black Metal feel prevails, despite the other influences which encompass it. The lyrics are well written and thought provoking.
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Three of the band members are involved in the vocal duties. Praetorian who also plays guitars and keyboards, Maulgrim also on guitars and Thule who plays bass. This adds a lot of depth to the vocals. The drum work from Tyrith is excellent throughout the album.
Opening with 'Claim Your Place With The Gods', an atmospheric and melancholic instrumental that builds gradually and flows straight into the catchy, fast tempo track 'One Stands Still Here'.
The black Metal anthem 'Invictus' has catchy riffs and varying tempo change keeping your interest. 'We Assist Death' has fast, precise drumming and catchy riffs. The mood changes in the final two minutes with an excellent melancholic repeat riff are very emotive. I really enjoyed this track.
I also liked 'Shadow Of The Wolf'; another catchy track with strong vocals.
'As The Snow Gathers' was also very emotive because of the orchestration and I liked how the clean and harsh vocals were cleverly balanced to add atmosphere.
The heroically lyrical 'Echoes Through Our Blood' was my favourite track. The combination of chugging guitars, the balance of harsh and clean vocals and the distorted spoken segment half way through was awesome.
The final track 'Against All Odds (All The Battles To Come - Part II)' I liked musically: good guitar work and acoustic interlude half way through, however there was something about the vocals on this track that didn't quite gel with me but not enough to detract from the overall product.
As debut albums go this is pretty good, with some real high points to it and a few tracks that I really enjoyed. It will be interesting to see what Eternal Helcaraxe have to offer in the future. I believe they are a band that has huge potential.
'Against All Odds' is available now from Abyss Records.