Eldritch - Portrait Of The Abyss Within
Limb Music Products
Progressive Power / Thrash Metal
11 songs (49'11)
Release year: 2004
Eldritch, Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Marty
When you ask someone to mention some of the more popular Italian heavy metal bands, Labyrinth, Rhapsody, and Vision Divine are usually the first ones mentioned. Another band that deserves to be mentioned is Eldritch. This band has been largely overlooked for many years now despite being around longer than any of the aforementioned bands. They got their start in 1991 by guitarist Eugene Simone and vocalist Terrance Holler. Two demos were released in 1992 and 1993 and finally their first full-length, Seeds Of Rage in 1995. They followed that with Headquake in 1997 and one of the better metal albums of the late 90's, 1998's El Nino. The band has a virtual revolving door for keyboard and bass players with several passing in and out of the band over the years. With this current album, the band's first in 3 years since the somewhat bizarre thrash metal stylings of Reverse, the band has decided to forget the keyboards and further concentrate on a more guitar driven sound. Filling in on bass is Lisa Oliviero who has since left Eldritch to join Italian prog metal band Icycore. Unlike most of the other Italian power metal bands, Eldrtich does not use fantasy based lyrics and you won't find the word dragon mentioned in any of their songs! Drawing on emotions and inner turmoils much like Dream Theater does, Eldritch mixes that with influences from Fates Warning, a thrashy guitar driven sound reminding me a bit of Annihilator and a darker but melodic style as played almost to perfection on Angel Dust's Bleed and Enlighten The Darkness albums.

After a short intro featuring "circus" flavored guitar orchestrations, the album kicks into gear full force with Forbidden. With killer double bass flurries and awesome thick and heavy riffs, it's a speedy, driving and heavy song that has the sort of "fat" power chord sound of Falconer. A bit of German power metal sound can be found with this track as well and the thrashy experimentation that was featured on their Reverse album. The World Apart mixes lots of melody with quieter passages and ripping and pounding heavy segments and a chorus that's vintage Zak Stevens era Savatage. One of many album highlights is heard with This Everlasting Mind Disease where the band mixes a choppy and abstract heavy sound with a great memorable chorus. The pummeling double bass and lead guitar flurries even have a classic Megadeth sound to them. Picture On The Wall reminds me of a classic Andi Deris ballad at least for the first half before some great orchestrated guitar effects take over for the second half. Dice Rolling ventures into Helloween territory with it's Andi Deris style vocals and heavy riffs and deals with the aspect of what the dice rolls for you as far as your fate in life. Another album highlight and easily the best track is Drowning. With an abstract Angel Dust style heaviness, it has great melodic vocals, a great catchy chorus and some very solid lead guitar harmonies. This band is at it's best with tracks like this. Blindfolded Walkthrough shows influences from Fates Warning and Queensryche with it's clean guitar intro but eventually returns to the heaviness for the chorus section. See You Down, another highlight, again mixes melody and heaviness with a repetitive riff style that uses some cool Wah guitar effects. The band kicks back into thrash metal mode again with the track Slow Motion K Us. Very fast and aggressive, it has lots of melody and mixes prog metal and power thrash metal very well. Killer double bass drums are aplenty and another great chorus rounds out another great tune. The album ends with Lonesome Existence, a more mid-tempo and lighter sounding track that has heavier and melodic sections and sees Terrance Holler sounding a lot like a young Jon Oliva (Savatage) from the Fight For The Rock era of the band.

Eldritch has continued with the thrash metal flavored sound that they experimented with on their last album Reverse only they have mixed in more progressive influences and melody; staple elements of their sound on some of their best albums namely El Nino. The thrashy and darker sound mixed with melody and heaviness not only distances themselves from other Italian metal bands, it really has given them a style very much unto their own. Sure the obvious influences are there but they're starting to create something that is both unique and original in today's very overcrowded power metal scene. I think this is one of the best releases ever by this band and rivals some of their earlier work. I like what I hear on this album as although Reverse has it's moments, it's lacking the melodic style that this band's been known for. I feel that as great as this album is, it still has some shortcomings especially in the vocals on a few songs. I really didn't think that this band was going to make a big impression one the metal scene anytime soon because of a lack of consistency with their albums but I think this album may prove me wrong.

Killing Songs :
Forbidden, This Everlasting Mind Disease, Drowning, Blindfolded Walkthrough, See You Down and Slow Motion K Us
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Eldritch that we have reviewed:
Eldritch - Underlying Issues reviewed by Joel and quoted 88 / 100
Eldritch - Tasting The Tears reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Eldritch - Blackenday reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Eldritch - Neighbourhell reviewed by Ian and quoted 81 / 100
Eldritch - Reverse reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 / 100
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