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Eternal Storm - A Giant Bound To Fall review

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Band: Eternal Storm
Album: A Giant Bound To Fall
Style: Melodic death metal
Release date: February 2024

01. An Abyss Of Unreason
02. A Dim Illusion [feat. Sven de Caluwé]
03. There Was A Wall
04. Last Refuge [feat. Kheryon and Paul R. Flys]
05. Eclipse
06. Lone Tree Domain
07. The Sleepers
08. The Void
09. A Giant Bound To Fall

With first Persefone and now Eternal Storm, Daniel R. Flys has appeared, within the span of a fortnight, on two records that will doubtless rank among the best that 2024 has to offer in progressive melodeath come year end.

These two bands are by no means identical; as mentioned in my Persefone review, their signature form of technical and melodic progressive death metal is firmly established by now, with Flys’ addition as vocalist only adding to a strong pre-existing formula. Eternal Storm are a much newer name on the block, but they announced themselves in style in 2019 with Come The Tide, an outstanding display of melancholic melodeath in the vein of the modern giants of the genre from Finland, albeit rendered across long and expansive songs. Those songs have grown even longer and more complex on the long-awaited sophomore release A Giant Bound To Fall, whose nine tracks combine for a whopping 70-minute runtime; a lengthy gestation time has culminated in a jumbo release.

I really liked Come The Tide when it came out, although I must confess that substantial portion of my love of it was reserved for the two-part opener, “Through The Wall Of Light”, which for my money ranks right at the pinnacle of modern melodeath. “Through The Wall Of Light” (which is called back to on this new record with the song “There Was A Wall”) somewhat dwarfed the rest of Come The Tide for me, which brings opportunities and challenges for Eternal Storm with A Giant Bound To Fall; I naturally approach the record with the expectation of being wowed by a song in the way that “Through The Wall Of Light” managed, but conversely, this new release has the opportunity to shine over its predecessor if it can deliver a more consistent listening experience.

In terms of how to open the record in as captivating manner as its predecessor accomplish, Eternal Storm opt to start A Giant Bound To Fall with its longest song, the 13-minute “An Abyss Of Reason”. Opening with a sonic vista that calls out for adventure in a way that acts such as Omnium Gatherum have previously, this song runs a gamut of emphatic tremolo melodic riffs, frenetic blasting, gloomy clean sung segments, a tasteful electronic interlude, proggy interweaving of rhythmically complex riffs, and finally a greatly satisfying climactic rolling chug riff. The song isn’t an instant knockout hit like “Through The Wall Of Light” was, and there’s an odd snippet around the halfway mark where odd production briefly produces a bizarre compressed sound (which I’m sure is intentional, but doesn’t work well to me), but it’s nevertheless a very strong opening to the album.

It's also quite an intimidating act to follow given its scope, but one area in which A Giant Bound To Fall eclipses its predecessor is in how consistently compelling the record remains throughout. The remaining highlights on the album are arguably the other tracks approaching/exceeding the 10-minute mark, “Last Refuge” and “Lone Tree Domain”, but the shorter ones (which is relative, as all bar one run for over 5 minutes) more than hold their own. “A Dim Illusion” has an immediate intensity in its tone conveyed by sorrowful guitar leads and brooding riffs, but it progresses to a brighter and livelier sound later on with some almost playful drum rhythms. Additionally, while it doesn’t even attempt to replicate the irresistible hookiness of its spiritual predecessor, “There Was A Wall” has some firecracker moments, including a standout solo and some stirring clean sung parts.

Across a 70-minute album, it can be tempting to try and work out if there’s any songs or passages whose removal would improve the overall listening experience, but nothing overly stands out. “Eclipse” is a change of pace, eschewing metal for melodic quasi-ambience from synths and a meandering guitar, but while it’s still quite lengthy for an interlude-style piece, it does act as a nice breather between the two lengthy, multifaceted cuts it lies between. After “Lone Tree Domain” gradually winds down, there’s still 3 songs left, but each manages to mostly justify its presence. They don’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, but the continued balance of blistering melodeath riffs, tender clean moments and complex song structuring continues to pay dividends, particularly with the emotionally resonant, melancholic sung/screamed climax of “The Sleepers”, and the slower, brooding nature of the title track offers some change of pace to what has come before.

I feel that it would be a fair critique to say that A Giant Bound To Fall could benefit from a bit more variation in style across its runtime; while there’s a mixture of different components in each song, the same components appear consistently across pretty much every track. Additionally, there’s no one song here that is as awe-inspiring as the debut’s “Through The Wall Of Light” was. However, there’s not much else to criticize the album for; it’s a really strong sophomore release from a very promising band.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 15.02.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 162 users
16.02.2024 - 05:44
Theory Snob
I'm insanely excited to spin this later today, my thoughts toward their previous completely align with yours and what you've said here about the new one is very promising.
"I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense." - Proverbs 30:2
"Music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks!" - Devin Townsend

Best 2024 Albums
16.02.2024 - 12:34

Many thanks for the review!
I'm really looking forward to listening to the whole album. I really liked Come the tide and the songs I've listened to so far from A Giant Bound To Fall sound great. I have a very good feeling about the album. Very promising
Just yesterday night I saw Daniel R. Flys' performance with Persefone in Barcelona and he was really great.
I'm looking forward to seeing Eternal Storm in a show. So much to enjoy
04.03.2024 - 16:36
The Galactician

Great review, as always. Will be checking these guys out today!
24.03.2024 - 19:37
Rating: 9

Your rating 8s justified for this album. For me it's an aoty contender of the genre for this year.
In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘

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