ETERNAL HELCARAXE (Ireland) “Against All Odds” CD review by www.avenoctum.com

ETERNAL HELCARAXE (Ireland) “Against All Odds” CD review

by www.avenoctum.com

By Gizmo

Now stay with me (look at the score if you must) but I have to say that by the time I get to the first few seconds of the second track on Against All Odds, Ireland’s Eternal Helcaraxe have managed to tick three of my pet hates (remember, stay with me, they are so worth it). Firstly what is it with Tolkien and black metal bands (apart from the fact many vocalists sound like orcs…)? It’s about as Christian-centric a mythos as fantasy gets outside of C S Lewis or Elizabeth Moon. Secondly we have the great moody, atmospheric intro that doesn’t feed into the first song, it just stops and the song starts and they have to build the atmosphere all over again. Thirdly where does black metal stop and pagan metal start if you ignore the lyrical stylings?

And the title didn’t fill me with hope either.

OK I’m off my soapbox now and on the clock.

This is the debut full length from Eternal Helcaraxe and I doubt you will find a more assured debut in 2012 this side of Agruss. Seriously; the (well placed) confidence on show here is a joy to behold. Musically they play a style of black/pagan metal that is so epic that it would have Amon Amarth and Turisas looking over their furry shoulders and might even be given a spin by some of the most courageous power metal fans, and yet it retains the gnarly, thrashing, battering soul of the mother genre, thank the gods. Kind of the black metal cousins of the fellow Irish doom inclined Mael Mordha.

After the lovely, melodic into we are kicked into ‘One Still Stands’ which launches a great emotional and epic guitar hook that really does conjure an age of heroes before the snarled vocals come in and the song dives headfirst into some black metal styled attacks. It seems a bit sudden but you quickly get used to following the lovely fluid guitar melodious in and out of these parts. You see at their big heart, Eternal Helcaraxe are a supremely melodic, but not sickly or cheesy, pagan heavy metal band. The vocals are straight black metal, apart from a couple of sections of clean singing which they could think about using more, and they do blast and thrash it up a lot but these songs ride in on great melody and wonderful hooks.

‘Invictus’ is a bit Amon Amarth, yes, but it is still a glorious uplifting song, with a sweep of cinematic, vista opening keyboards just to add the technicolour. Whereas in contrast the nicely titled ‘We Assist Death’ is much more of a howl into the storm until the lengthy guitar lead out. The epic title track shows a narrative grasp that adds depth but never loses sight that this is a song to be played and drowned in. There is complexity as well as hooks so the songs have room to grow as you explore them which bodes will for the longevity of Against All Odds.

These guys do like to batter and howl, make no mistake, but their grasp and use of these huge heroic slabs of melody on songs like ‘As The Snow Gathers’ shifts the band into a whole different genre. I notice that they have shared stages with some high profile black metal bands but they would equally be at home alongside Amorphis, Immortal, Moonsorrow, Tyr or any of the bands mentioned above. They already have their own identity and there is not a single weak composition on this album really.

This is an exemplary debut of melodic, emotionally heavy, chainmail hard, heroic black metal. Fierce, fist pumping, headbanging battle torn stuff. All this and not a fiddle in sight. Against all odds I’ve fallen for this album big time.

Eternal Helcaraxe demand and deserve your attention, oh aye and your money. Get out and buy it. Here’s hoping they get to play in the UK mainland sometime soon.

Rating: 8.5/10

Review link: www.avenoctum.com/2012/06/eternal-helcaraxe-against-all-odds-abyss/

Eternal Helcaraxe Links:

Official Website: http://eternalhelcaraxe.net/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/eternalhelcaraxe

Myspace: www.myspace.com/eternalhelcaraxe666

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/eternalhelcaraxe

Last fm: www.last.fm/music/Eternal+Helcaraxe

Abyss Records links:

Online Label & Online Music Store: www.officialabyssrecords.com

Myspace: www.myspace.com/abyssrecordsofficial

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialAbyssRecords

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/label/abyssrecords

Last fm: www.last.fm/label/AbyssRecords

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/MinionfortheAbyss

Other links:

To Order ETERNAL HELCARAXE “Against All Odds” CD, “To Whatever End” CD EP, or their first CD EP “Palest Kingdom” go to: www.officialabyssrecords.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Eternal+Helcaraxe

To preview a song from “To Whatever End”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ih4eXw283s

And to preview a song from “Palest Kingdom” go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_44LhwIvXwA

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