|Musical Style: Glam Metal||Produced By: Caesar Kalinowski|
|Record Label: Pure Metal||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1990||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 43:28|
“A lot of people will quote (Psalm 33:3) to play loudly, but they sometimes forget the second part, to play skillfully before the Lord.”
-Phil St. Vincent
The best way to describe Eternal Ryte would be glam metal combining a more than above average amount of guitar driven muscle with a bold and upfront message. Emerging from the growing Southern California Christian metal scene in the mid-eighties, Eternal Ryte was initially put together by founding members guitarist Bobby “Transformer” Smith, bassist Jon Ciccareli and drummer Mike Berry. An ad in The Recycler soon led them to vocalist Phil Garcia (who later changed his last name to St. Vincent). When Ciccareli and Berry decided to call it quits after several years, the band rounded out its line up with drummer Scott “Smash!” Ernest (Angelica) and bassist Fred Gustafsson. Eternal Ryte went on to play all the clubs in Hollywood, including The Whiskey, Gazaries, The Roxy, and The Troubadour, and eventually recorded three demos – with the six song Anthem tape from 1988 being the most noteworthy - before signing to Pure Metal Records. The bands name has a two fold meaning. First, it is the right to be kings and priests for Jesus Christ. Second, as described in Romans 6:23, it is the right He’s given us through His bloodshed for eternal life.
On its 1990 Pure Metal debut World Requiem Eternal Ryte moves in straightforward melodic metal and hard rock territory, creating a sound certain to appeal to fans of Stryper, Angelica, Bloodgood, Holy Soldier, Loudness, Dokken and Queensryche. The bands well rounded songwriting skills help to make the album an even listen from front to back. “Tightrope Dancer” and “Surrender”, for example, both stand out with their catchy hooks, while “Requiem” and “The Killer” feature the heavier and more aggressive sound. Eternal Ryte even pulls off a more blues based metal number in “The King” in addition to showcasing a customary radio friendly ballad entitled “Say Hello”.
I enjoy the charismatic approach Phil St. Vincent takes with his mid-octave ranged lead vocal style, complementing the bands sound with a delivery that is both clean and smooth sounding at the same time. Bobby Smith, who lists Randy Roads , Jake E. Lee, George Lynch and Akira Takasaki as musical influences, is quite the talented musician who adorns the album from front to back with his lightning-like work on lead guitar. (On a side note, it is worth pointing out that Smith received an invitation to audition for Ozzy Osbourne as Jake E. Lee’s replacement. No, he did not get the gig- it, of course, went to Zakk Wylde.) Drummer Scott Ernest and bassist Fred Gustafsson form a capable performance rhythm section.
Production values come across with the needed amount of polish, combining a crisp rhythm guitar sound with an even mix of lead guitar. The albums low end, on the other hand, could have received the cleaner mix in that the bass guitar tends to get lost in the instrumentation. Otherwise, the sound here is fine.
It is worth pointing out that the album artwork, featuring the bands name and album title over a black marble background, is on the generic side.
“Tightrope Dancer” gets things underway to a crunchy rhythm guitar followed by several seconds of fluid lead guitar work. The song proceeds to advance through its first verse in assertive fashion prior to reaching its up-tempo pre-chorus. Repeating the same pattern for its second verse and pre-chorus, “Tightrope Dancer” peaks as it attains a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Smith returns and contributes a lengthy stretch of verdant work on lead guitar. “Tightrope Dancer” talks about making the correct eternal decision:
You call it make believe, a fool believes in heaven
But deep inside you know it’s real
I cry masquerade, a fool denies a Savior
When you’re alone how do you feel?
“Requiem” ranks among the albums heaviest tracks. Taking off in a high-octane manner to a double bass driven riff, the song advances at a resounding upbeat tempo before obtaining a hard hitting chorus backed by shouted vocal harmonies. Smith again makes his presence felt, adorning the scene with a nice aggressively delivered guitar solo.
The open air rhythm guitar at the start of “Someone To Love” gives way to a few brief seconds of sharp sounding lead guitar work. A mid-tempo environment is put in place as the song marches through its verse portions, just the right amount of edgy rhythm guitar accentuating the mix as it reaches a strong commercial flavored chorus.
A quietly played guitar highlighted by a brush of keyboards helps take the ballad “Say Hello” through its first verse. Picking up in pace as the rhythm guitar steps forward at the start of the second, “Say Hello” slowly moves ahead until it tapers off for a smooth sounding chorus shored up by the same quietly played guitar carrying its first verse. “Say Hello” talks about searching for a true love:
Now I am here with my heart a mile wide
Could You love me like You did before
For so long, I’ve needed love so true
And all this time my heart was needing You
The hard rocking “Killer” is three minutes of non-stop explosive energy. Beginning to clashing symbols followed by a sledgehammer-like riff, an upfront mix of rhythm guitar impels the song ahead until it attains a chorus repeating its title twice in good punchy fashion. Smith pulls out all the stops with his blazing work on lead guitar. “The Killer” exposes the devil, the song who is “the killer”:
He’s like a roaring lion now
Don’t’ hear his lies, they’ll bring you down
He comes to steal, to kill, destroy your soul
So stand In God and hold your ground
Cause he seeks all ways to do harm
If you’re in sin
“Surrender” immediately kicks in at an upbeat tempo, a driving bass line helping the song forge through its first verse until it gains further momentum for its pre-chorus. The near mesmerizing chorus that follows is delivered by the band in a catchy and non-stop hook filled manner. “Surrender” is a song about salvation:
Salvation is at hand to captive hearts
Don’t be afraid of the dark
“On The Line”, an older song Eternal Ryte pulled out of the vault, is a good, fast paced hard rocker. The song commences in a raucous manner, quickly advancing through its verse portions until it culminates for a chorus fortified by a forward but complementary mix of vocal harmonies. An energetic guitar solo aligns itself with the songs vibrant pace and feel.
The pace slows down a bit with the more laid back “You And Me”. Introduced to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar before the rhythm section kicks in, the song steadily advances to a wall of crunchy rhythm guitar only to gain further momentum for a sweeping chorus with an overriding commercial feel. The only complaint worth offering is that “You And Me” is a bit long winded in coming in at just over five minutes.
The blues influenced metal of “The King” is one of the albums highlights. Slowly but gradually plodding through its first verse with a plethora of guitar driven groove, “The King” culminates for a steadfast chorus with a worshipful message:
He’s the King!
So worship His majesty
The King of Kings!
Then you’ll see
The King of Kings
St. Vincent really stands out here his sass-flavored vocal delivery. Terrific song.
The haunting laughter opening “No More Lies” gives way to a drum solo. Taking off to a strong hard hitting riff, “No More Lies” energetically progresses through its first verse until the intensity level escalates for a chorus underscored by a wealth of pounding double bass. “No More Lies” talks about crooked politicians:
You’re walking tall you draw your sword out
You strike your weaker brother down
Won’t shed a tear for the innocent
Is that what your life’s all about?
Following the release of World Requiem, Bobby Smith, who had been with Eternal Ryte for six years, decided it was time to do something different and, as a result, departed the group. The band did bring in a replacement guitarist in Lupe Garcia, but when Pure Metal was sold to Star Song Records, Eternal Ryte ended up getting dropped and subsequently folded. On a side note, it is worth pointing out that after leaving Eternal Ryte Smith went on to play in several rockabilly bands, releasing one CD with Jumpin’ Jimes and three with 18 Wheeler.
Phil St. Vincent – Lead Vocals
Bobby Smith – Guitars
Fred Gustafsson – Bass
Scott Ernest - Drums
Track Listing: “Tightrope Dancer” (4:37), “Requiem” (4:42), “Someone To Love” (4:19), “Say Hello” (4:48), “The Killer” (3:06), “Surrender” (4:02), “On The Line” (3:42), “You And Me” (5:01), “The King” (5:14), “No More Lies” (3:52)
Arnold, Christy & Randy Rocker. “Eternal Ryte Interview.” Take A Stand (June 1990): 1-2.
“LA Report.” White Throne 4 (1988): 7.
“The Men Behind The Bold Message Of Eternal Ryte… And The Hair They Wear”. Heaven’s Metal 16 (1988): 8-9.
Rocker, Randy & Christy Arnold. “Eternal Ryte Interview.” Take A Stand (January 1989): 1-2.