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Eternal Helcaraxe - Against All Odds

Eternal Helcaraxe
Against All Odds
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 July 2012, 7:34 PM

Marching forward against all odds, this battle will be won. Later on there will be a safe journey home back to cold north into the family warmth. There have been, throughout the ages, countless of stories and legends regarding few outsmarting the many, weak conquering the strong and more of the same. I don't know if this album's title, "Against All Odds", by this newcomer Irish Epic / Black Metal band of ETERNAL HELCARAXE, deals with the same dilemmas or descriptions of what I mentioned earlier, but I guess that it can be opened for different perspectives. With a music that partly felt as if it was a wind of war upon a vast field of battle or the galloping of a thousand horses, riding between old school Scandinavian bursts and Celtic influences, ETERNAL HELCARAXE, with this debut scored some points and opened my eyes once again regarding the magical elements laying still within Black Metal music and how its Folk counterpart can mature and flourish it.

Unlike the harsher forms of older Black Metal warriors such as IMMORTAL or DARKTHRONE and others that paved the road for rawness, ETERNAL HELCARAXE proved that they can implement these fiendish elements for enhancing their own creations, particularly in the sound production. While excluding the fast blast beats and grinding that have been a major part of the Black Metal imagery for years, Folk elements were inserted to upgrade your normal Paganism experience into a sort of concept which was inlayed in each track. Acoustic guitars and keyboards were used as storytelling aspects while the narrator, or more accurate the singer, and his peers, told the lost tales of glory with conviction, whether with raspy, grown and dreamy clean tones. In overall, the vocal section turned out to be different than the customary Black Metal usual front end. Furthermore, aside from the fast and mid pace riffing, the band chopped with nice melodies and crunchy octave oriented passages, which sometimes developed into a whole new atmospheric existence that allowed the spirituality of the stories to sink beneath the skin. I would have preferred supplementary lead guitar capers but more or less the lead work, which played out with a few cool licks, was satisfactory.

"One Stands Still Here" came up as the strongest contender on this one. It swept from mid tempo to fast paced carnage of blackness and mysticism. There were several sections where the atmospheric kicked in really well. "As The Snow Gathers" led me to believe that I was listening to a Norwegian old school band but the music sounded a bit more progressed than the old raw form. The ending chapter of this album was the album's title, "Against All Odds", which elevated a dramatic story of what I gathered as a warrior that won't be returning home again. Generally, this album serves as a profound beginning for this here band. I like its direction and it will work well for these guys if they will choose to perfect their music even further.

3 Star Rating

1. Claim Your Place With the Gods
2. One Stands Still Here
3. Invictus
4. We Assist Death
5. Shadow of the Wolf
6. As the Snow Gathers
7. Echoes through Our Blood
8. Against All Odds (All the Battles to Come - Part II) 
Praetorian- Guitars, Keys & Vocals
Maulgrim- Guitars & Vocals
Thule- Bass & Vocals
Tyrith- Drums
Record Label: Abyss Records


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