Eclipse Eternal Reign of the Unholy Blackened Empire

Canada’s metal scene has been on a radical upswing lately, with solid releases from Buried Inside, Soulscar, the End, and now Toronto-based melodic black metal troupe Eclipse Eternal. Those who’ve slept through the last few Cradle albums will be foaming at the mouth over this, as it returns the focus of the theatrical niche of black metal to, well, black metal. There is a tinny, under-produced keyboard presence, a polished drum sound, and vocals that come across as a less effects-laden and effeminate Dani Filth. There is also the occasional acoustic bit which approaches folk-metal territory, and some sparingly used bursts of technical thrash à la the last Dimmu Borgir record. The production, while not quite as buzz saw sharp and piercing as it could be, is clear and representative. Unlike the multitudes of Z-grade groups within this particular grouping, the emphasis is definitely on metal, and with the exception of the periodically coherent lyrics, it leaves the cheesier side of things for the predictably over-the-top live show. Though not likely to convert disparagers of the genre, this shreds the majority of more established groups’ (that need not be mentioned again) recent output; and despite the slightly overwhelming length (a whopping 63 minutes), Reign marks yet another sweaty, longhaired bulls eye for the Great White North. (Galy)