|Musical Style: Melodic Power Metal||Produced By: Ricardo Nagata & Glen Zolotar|
|Record Label: Unimar Music||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2004||Artist Website: Eterna|
|Tracks: 13||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 61:25|
It has always been my opinion that the Brazilian Catholic melodic power metal band Eterna peaked with its third full length effort The Gate, a wonderful album in which the bands catchy and melodic based songwriting is combined with nothing less than a first class display of musicianship. Eterna exhibited even further growth and maturity in its songwriting skills on its 2003 follow up effort Terra Nova in that tracks such as "Mother Land" and "Desert Moon" rank among the finest of its career. On its recent offering Epiphany, however, Eterna continues to chart the waters of power metal and melodic metal in creating its heaviest and most guitar driven effort to day. The band, at the same time, still maintains a high level of confidence in its instrumental sound, cutting loose with several sweeping instrumental breaks helping to take nine of the albums tracks out past five minutes.
With the departure of drummer and co-lead vocalist Danilo Lopes, Leandro Cacoilo takes on all lead vocal duties and does a superb job with his Dio influenced lead vocal style. Timekeeper Paulo Henrique performs very capably in filling Lopes' shoes and combines with bassist Jason Freitis to form a tight sounding rhythm section. Paulo Frade remains at the top of his game on lead guitar, while keyboardist Rafael Agostino accentuates the bands sound with just the right amount of texture.
Epiphany features the finest production job of the Eterna's five album career, showcasing a sound the band strove for but could not quite capture on The Gate and Terra Nova. The rhythm guitar comes across with a near perfect edge and crispness. The double bass stands out perfectly in the mix and combines with just the right amount of fluid lead guitar.
Exciting, energetic and catchy, "Epiphany" is by far the albums strongest track. The sweeping keyboards at the start of the song give way to a fast paced riff that carries its first verse at an upbeat tempo. Picking up in pace to a profusion of rapid double bass, the song moves on to an infectious chorus reinforced by a storm of rhythm guitar. Frade's lead guitar duals with Agostino's keyboards throughout a minute and a half long instrumental passage. "Epiphany" talks about the reality of eternal life:
We have the key
To make you fine
Living forever in paradise
Hear the music
Inside your soul
"Kyrie" is a short (:46) instrumental driven by vocal harmonies in the form of a Gregorian chant carried over keyboards.
A driving guitar riff pushes "Kyrie Eleison" forward at a resounding mid-tempo pace, the song gaining momentum until it culminates for a strong but forcefully delivered chorus. After the song slows as a piano underscores Caciolo's bountiful voice, Frade and Agostino once again trade off during the instrumental passage that follows.
The pace of the album picks up with "Holy Spirit". Advancing through its first and second verse as Henrique puts on a clinic in rapid double bass, “Holy Spirit” culminates for a galloping chorus which is repeated by the band in a catchy manner. Frade's blistering lead guitar work helps carry another extended instrumental passage. "Holy Spirit" is about exactly that:
Flying as a bird in the sky
It's just the sensations of grace
It's not a dream
It's the gift of the Holy Spirit
I can't believe
This dream is true
"Dead Eyes" ranks among the albums heaviest tracks. Taking off to an edgy rhythm guitar backed by a heavy duty bass line, Cacoilo adds an element of grit to his vocal delivery during the songs verse portions only to display the abundant range to his voice upon reaching a fleeting chorus carried in hard hitting fashion. Several seconds of keyboards opens an instrumental passage topped off by a melodic flavored guitar solo.
A hard and heavy riff drives "Searching For Salvation" through its first verse before it evenly flows to a stylish chorus coming across in the form of a believer’s cry of faith:
It's not a kind of dream
Tell me the truth
Looking for answers
I believe but
Intensify my faith
A lead guitar and keyboard trade off opens a two minute instrumental passage ending to a heavy duty double bass driven riff. The message to "Searching For Salvation" could not be summed up any better than in the following line:
Searching for salvation
I need Him
For a better life
The ballad "I Believer In Love", while very well done, is a bit long winded in coming in at 5:50. Commencing to a drum solo, a piano slowly propels the song through its first verse before the rhythm guitar kicks in at the start of the second and leads the way to a good emotionally charged chorus. Frade steps forward with several seconds of bluesy lead guitar work.
An acoustic guitar carries the extent of the minute long instrumental "After Shadows".
Starting fast and heavy to a double bass driven riff, "Power For The Fools" does not miss a beat as a ton of energy conveys it to a chorus driven by a profusion of heavy duty rhythm guitar. Frade cuts loose with a minute of flashy lead guitar work.
After the gritty rhythm guitar introducing "Hard Life" drops from the mix upon reaching its first verse, it returns as the song picks up in pace for the second. A trite sounding chorus I might describe as average at best, unfortunately, prevents "Hard Life" from ranking among the albums better material.
Beginning at an upbeat tempo, "Final Warning" moves forward to an abundance of guitar driven momentum until it peaks for a chorus that does not always hold up under repeated play due to its repetitious feel. Frade, on the other hand, nails several seconds of very well done bluesy lead guitar work.
The exquisite blues flavored hard rocker "Dreams" deserves to rank among the albums more noteworthy tracks. Getting underway to the sound of loud buzzing, a stylish mid-tempo clip is maintained by the song as it progresses to a smooth sounding chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Eterna displays the strength of its musicianship throughout a minute and a half long instrumental passage. "Dreams" talks about searching for the truth:
You're looking for the remains
Of the things that you believed
Of the story of your life
Take your memories
From the depths of your soul
I'm the only Way
Believe in me
The albums ends in a strong manner to a very classy acoustic based ballad entitled "Keep Fighting".
While Epiphany might not feature quite as many catchy hooks as found on The Gate, from front to back it proves a much more consistent effort when compared to its predecessor Terra Nova. The albums superlative production job and the strength of the bands musicianship only adds to its appeal.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Epiphany" (5:55), "Kyrie" (:46), "Kyrie Eleison" (5:58), "Holy Spirit" (5:01), "Dead Eyes" (5:00), "Searching For Salvation" (6:04), "I Believe In Love" (5:50), "After Shadows" (1:00), "Power For The Fools" (5:26), "Hard Life" (4:35), "Final Warning" (4:08), "Dreams" (6:27), "Keep Fighting" (5:08)
Leandro Cacoilo – Lead Vocals
Paulo Frade – Guitars
Rafael Agostino – Keyboards
Jason Freitas – Bass & Acoustic Guitar
Paulo Henrique – Drums
Marcio Okayama – Guitars
Fernando Turtera - Percussions