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Eternus - Human Tales

Human Tales
by Gary Hernandez at 10 November 2019, 4:31 AM

ETERNUS is a Symphonic Metal band based in Valparaíso, Chile. I don’t know much about the Symphonic Metal scene in Chile, but it looks fairly vibrant with close to 15 bands active in the genre — three of them, including ETERNUS, hailing from this major seaport town. ETERNUS formed in 2012, released their debut full-length album in 2014, an EP in 2016, and their second LP, “Human Tales,” in August 2019. They’ve had some significant lineup changes since their inception, which I won’t cover here. I will say, though, that based on the outcome of their latest album, their current lineup seems fairly solid.

“Human Tales” is a bit under produced. Regardless, you can still hear the talent of this band coming through. There’s something intriguing about ETERNUS that I can’t quite define. It might be the raw feel you get from the above mentioned production, or it might be the slightly Latin-infused vibe. For instance, on the first track, “The Death & the Child,” right when you’re expecting a sizzling solo, Nicolas Vargas (drums) and Guillermo Jarpa (bass) slow the tempo and Joaquin Gutierrez breaks out into a killer solo on what sounds like a Spanish classical guitar. Then, before you can get over that, he shifts into a gritty riff backed by choral harmonics. There are more surprises before the track, over seven minutes long, comes to an end, making this one of the best tunes on the album.

The second track, “Guilt,” again showcases Gutierrez’s impressive guitar work as well as the keen ability of Felipe Rozas (keyboards) to layer in symphonics. Most Symph bands over emphasize their vocalist. While Valentina Moreno is an excellent soprano, the band doesn’t undersell their prowess as musicians. In “Guilt,” for instance, the band patiently builds the composition for a full two minutes, allowing the listener to become immersed in the atmosphere before Moreno utters her first notes. Watching this on the video is especially impactful, as you see Moreno waiting on the sidelines in front of her microphone just ready to pounce. Nicolas Vargas’s performance on drums also shines on the video.

There are some surprisingly heavy tunes. “Phantom Chain,” for one, features lightly guttural, male vocals in addition to brutal riffs. “Towering Dusk” is also heavy, building to epic and triumphant proportions. My favorite song, “Oscura Creación,” (translation: dark creation) features Moreno singing in Spanish, which is just stunning. On the downside, there are a few distracting elements on the album. The chimes, or whatever they are, in “Motherly Bond” are annoying. I just couldn’t place them in the rhythm. Sadly, they also show up in “Oscura Creación.”

Overall, there’s a lot of musical variety on “Human Tales” with each song possessing its own rich landscape. My simple conclusion is this band has an impressive amount of bandwidth. I hope they maintain their trajectory but double down on the production next time around.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production:  6

3 Star Rating

1. The Death & the Child
2. Guilt
3. Phantom Chain
4. Like Father Like Son
5. Oscura Creación
6. Motherly Bond
7. Towering Dusk
8. Scars, Wounds & Joy
9. New Hope
Valentina Moreno – Lead voice
Joaquin Gutierrez – Guitar & choir
Felipe Rozas – Keyboards & grunts
Guillermo Jarpa – Bass
Nicolas Vargas – Drums & choir
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 10 July 2020

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