'The Eternal Rest'
Release Date: Friday 31st October 2014
Luke 'Loki' Milne
Engraved Disillusion are set to follow up their 2011 début studio release, 'Embers Of Existence', with the morbidly named 'The Eternal Rest', released later this week on 31st October.
The five-piece melodic Metal act from Taunton first caught my eye earlier this summer during the final round of Bournemouth's Metal 2 The Masses competition. For the uninitiated (where the hell have you been?) M2TM is a regional battle of the bands style contest, the victors of which are awarded with the opportunity to perform on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Open Air festival.
As you can imagine, it's a prize that is highly sought after by many bands, and for Engraved Disillusion to smash the competition all the way to the final round was no small feat. Their live performance struck me as slick, tight and hugely atmospheric, and although they were ultimately pipped to the post by the female-fronted melodic Metal act Metaprism, they certainly left a great impression upon the venue and it's punters. Mingling through the crowd that night, all in attendance spoke highly of Engraved Disillusion, and were eager to discuss were their favourite of the band's songs and why.
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Whether intentional or not, to follow their M2TM appearances with the release of their second album is a fantastic power-play from the band; I will admit that I gave a little mental air-punch when I saw their album hit my desk, and I'm confident it's not just my attention they will have caught within the past few months. Alas, let's not waste any more time, shall we? Buckle up, people...
Recorded at Thin Ice Studios with the assistance of Karl Groom, (Dragonforce, Threshold), 'The Eternal Rest' is - quite frankly - brilliant. Grab your air guitars and let loose your hair, Metal fans; Engraved Disillusion have penned an absolute belter of an album rich with epic guitar riffs, soaring solo breaks and all-round melodic Metal awesomeness.
While bands will often suffer the "curse of the shit second album", it's clear that a lot of thought has gone into writing Engraved Disillusion's second release, and it's absolutely fantastic in terms of it's musical content.
Each track is a satisfyingly heavy-set and quite often even beautiful masterpiece (most notably of guitar work) with the album often bleeding seamlessly from one into the next by way of overlapping musical phrases. This is definitely a nice touch and when coupled with the presence of musical and emotional contours throughout each track (and indeed the whole album), 'The Eternal Rest' comes across as an experience rather than simply a collection of tracks held together at one location.
From the opening track, 'Life Is...' (an atmospheric instrumental scene-setter), right through to the album's tenth, final and title track, 'The Eternal Rest' is a constantly evolving, constantly satisfying entity and almost a "How To" of melodic Metal music. Indeed, while Engraved Disillusion have certainly found their style of chuggy verses, airy choruses and epic solo breaks to work within, they demonstrate a vast amount of flexibility and are unafraid of shaking things up mid-song to add another dimension into the mix.
Want proof? Just listen to the soothing, reverberated vocal break from vocalist Matthew William Mead during 'Lost'. It's in complete contrast to the rest of the track, yet it fits perfectly around my ears and is a well-suited reprieve from the onslaught of heavy, chuggy riffs blasted throughout by guitarists Toby Stewart and Marc Matthews. It's extra little tweaks, phrases and tempo changes like this that appear throughout the album and make one hell of a difference overall, making Engraved Disillusion's second release stand tall in front of me as I listen to it.
Each individual track has it's own own character and charm; a particular track that stands out in testament of this is 'Curse The Sorrow', which houses a rather exotic feel through the use of Mixolydian/Phrygian scales... that's the "Egyptian sound" for those of you who might be scratching your heads.
Overall, the album feels like a complete journey from start to finish (as mentioned before), covering a multitude of equally-satisfying rhythms, riffs and mosh-worthy material. Indeed, the mix of rhythmic and grinding chord blasts, clean sung choruses and incredibly emotional guitar solos displayed here practically embodies exactly what I'm referring to when I speak about "contours" and "evolving music". Throw in the band's understanding that sometimes "less is more", and you've got an absolutely fantastic release from an incredibly talented group of musicians.
I really can't fault 'The Eternal Rest', and to be honest that sort of bothers me. I'm left a little speechless as a reviewer simply because there seems to be nothing I can point at and say "well, this album would have been great if not for *insert essay here*". In truth, Engraved Disillusion's album is a skilled, polished and creative example of melodic Metal at it's best. As someone who is perhaps a little too eager to dissect an album to pick out it's flaws, I'm somewhat stumped when faced with an album that doesn't seem to have any.
Let's close off with a little Q&A, shall we?
What makes The Eternal Rest a good album? Pretty much everything about it. It's beautiful both in its aggression and its tenderness; in particular the furious opening riff and verse of 'Into Oblivion' and the contrastingly sombre and haunting piano parts in the album's final track 'The Eternal Rest'. Oh, and pretty much every guitar solo in there.
What's your favourite song on the album? I don't think I could put my finger on just two or three tracks that "make" the album, and certainly couldn't even begin to narrow it down to just one. Each is just as strong, exciting, moving and interesting to listen to as the last, and each is worthy of it's place within the album.
And what do Engraved Disillusion actually sound like? Well, I suppose I haven't really answered this question yet, so it's fair to ask. Their influences include Killswitch Engage, Black Sabbath, At The Gates, Sylosis and In Flames to name but a few, and I think there's an element on each of these bands displayed throughout the course of 'The Eternal Rest'. I will say that the inclusion of 'Groom' in the production of the album has certainly boosted their "game" and given them a professional and intense sound throughout.
And finally, should I buy this album?
To put it bluntly? Fuck yes.