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Eucharist – I Am The Void Award winner

Eucharist
I Am The Void
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 25 April 2022, 5:57 AM

EUCHARIST is a metal band from Sweden who formed in 1989.  Perhaps because the band split up several times, they never really took off.  The year of their formation was around the same time other melodeath giants such as DARK TRANQUILLITY,   FLAMES, and AT THE GATES were also beginning to form their own legends.  EUCHARIST themselves released two excellent full length albums, “A Velvet Creation,” and “Mirrorworlds,” but I don’t always see them mentioned when people talk about the early days of melodeath.  It is shame because both albums are worthy of any praise.

However, they weren’t as close to the so called Gothenburg movement as their contemporaries.  They aren’t even from that same town and their sound was always darker, faster, and more abrasive than some of the others. Considering that, isn’t too surprising to see the band return twenty-five (!) years later with a new full length, “I Am The Void,” that is black metal.  The sound is still melodic and still abrasive—but this time the band’s main man, Markus Johnsson, has fully embraced his darker musical roots.

Joining Markus on this new venture is Simon Schilling on drums and has played with a variety of bands such as PANZERCHRIST, MARDUK, and BELPHEGOR.  His drumming is fast, tight, and lean with a firm focus on pummeling devastation.  Indeed, his performance echoes much of the album’s own sentiments.  This is a long album—twelve tracks with a runtime of an hour and sixteen minutes.  That’s huge..that is doom metal length.  Perhaps because doom is indeed my favorite genre, and therefore used to such epic song/album lengths, the marathon listening session that is “I Am The Void,” doesn’t bother me.  All twelve tracks straight up wreck the senses.  There isn’t any filler, pointless intros and meandering interludes—this is just straight up black metal attacking over and over again.  Could there be more variety, specifically in the drumming and riffs?  Sure, it definitely needs added dynamics.  But for what it is, uncompromising black metal with plenty of melodic flourishes, it doesn’t get much better to me.

As the album’s title would suggest, the atmosphere is dark.  The production is solid, capturing the rage of the instruments without being too raw or clean.  I do appreciate how well the bass stands out, something that if often lost in black metal.  The songs take the old school black metal idea of repeating the riffs many times throughout the songs.  I can see how that can get annoying to people, and a lot of time it does bother me with other bands, but the riffs on the album are slick as hell so it doesn’t bother me all that much.

Vocally, Markus sounds right at home and at ease with his raspy blackened screams.  He is surprisingly intelligible a lot of time, boosted in park by his cadence in which he seems to almost “talk” over the music.  The album begins with “Shadows,” opening with ethereal sounds  that grow ominous.  At the the 58 second mark, the guitar arrives, bringing with it a cold north wind.  There is a dizzying effect of falling down the rabbit hole once the drums start blasting off like rockets.  The song remains a wrecking ball until near the end when a strong melodic leads forces its away in, showcasing the band’s remaining desire to still throw in melody, before changing back into bulldozer mode.

The next track, “A Vast Land of Eternal Night,” is one of my favorites on the album.  The atmosphere is immediately cold, destitute, and unforgiving.  Is this the soundtrack to freezing death?  The echo effect on the vocals goes a long way in helping to generate the song’s mood.  Little splices of permafrost melody are integrated throughout the song, helping to spread the song out and keep interest high. The song fades out towards the end, leaving me feeling like my frozen and numbed face was also just ripped off.

Some of the best riffs are in “Mistress Of Nightmares,” which has a slight rock and roll feel and some undeniable groove. The drums are on a constant rise, never giving in an inch but all the while gaining ground.  The guitars are very melodic in parts but it doesn’t sound out of place—it sounds like Markus has the ability to blend his melodic roots into his new sound, pulling it off with a resounding bang. At times, such as in “Queen Of Hades,” the guitars don’t play actual riffs so much as offer a blanket of atmosphere that appears as a wall of pure sound—and it really captures the mood and feel of what Markus was going for with this album.  Around the 3:15 mark, the song goes into this melodic passage, very subtle but captivating especially when he screams his ass off—I can feel the torture, the hate, the unending horror.

In The Heart Infinity” goes from smooth textures to ballistic in the span of seconds , operating in two worlds at once yet making them work hand in hand.  The flurry of drums escalates the song to a different level, always adding intensity no matter what. The blitzkrieg moment at 4:15 where  lighting wouldn’t even dare trend is beautifully harrowing. Then we come to the title track, “I Am The Void,” and the album ends on the highest of highs.  The mood and range this song captures is the best on the album.  From the bass that peaks from the guitars like a twilight sun from below the horizon, to the drumming that compliments every nuances, to the blackened vocal assault, this song is the best on the album and hits that sweet spot between arcane and magical.

All in all, EUCHARIST’s return has blown me away because “I Am The Void,” is an album that is enjoyable to some degree every second of the way through and has become my most played album at the moment.  A hell of a return and a big stepping stone for this band’s late career era, should they choose to continue.  I hope they stay around this time because they clearly have much left to say.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shadows
2. A Vast Land of Eternal Night
3. Goddess of Filth (Tlazolteotl)
4. In the Blaze of the Blood Red Moon
5. Mistress of Nightmares
6. Queen of Hades
7. Nexion
8. Where the Sinister Dwell
9. In the Heart of Infinity
10. Lilith
11. Darkness Divine
12. I Am the Void
Lineup:
Simon Schilling – Drums
Markus Johnsson – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Regain Records
     


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