Eldritch - Neighbourhell
Limb Music Products
Power Progressive Metal
11 songs (45:17)
Release year: 2006
Eldritch, Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Ian
Italians Eldritch have been around since 1995 when they released the debut album Seeds Of Rage yet somehow they failed to catch the spotlight that this band truly deserves; in my book they are strong contenders to the Most Underrated Band award.

While during the first years they settled into a progressive-power metal approach, the debut album being followed by the 1997 Headquake and the excellent progressive work of art 1998’s El Niño, the band shifted their guitar/keyboard prog sound for a heavier/thrashier approach of a twin guitar attack in the 2001 release Reverse (reviewed on our website). While the new sound alienated quite a number of their fans (should I say myself included!?), the band earned the respect of the critics who praised them as an innovative band that doesn’t shy away from taking chances with new sounds and experiences.

Three years later, with the release of Portrait Of The Abyss Within, the band presented a new sound, much closer to the power area, full of melody, despite keeping the guitar duo as opposed to the early works. An Italian power metal style, bursting with energy and warmth, full forced riffs and introspective lyrics (no fairy-tales here) made this album one of the best releases of their career.

Of course, all these style changes (together with frequent member changes) could have led to an identity crisis if it hadn’t been for the trademark sound of the band: Terence Holler voice and Eugene Simone’s power riffing.

First, Terence Holler: one of the best Italian voices in the area, with clean and powerful vocals, energetic approach to the lyrics, with a mean streak in his high tones, yet full of emotions and warmth. Benefiting from a very personal tone, you could never take him for an average power metal singer, high or low voiced. He can sound at times mean and vengeful yet in the next moment he can turn into a sea of calm and poetry. His volume allows him to rise above the instrumental foundation and lead the song along the guitar riffs. Eugene Simone, the other founding member of the band is an excellent guitarist, in the vein of Jeff Waters or Kurdt Vanderhoof. His technical skills are only matched by his songwriting skills, creating a terrific sound, with superb riffs and solos. Many times listening to the 2006 Neighbourhell I found myself remembering the Metal Church early years sound with Kurdt Vanderhoof and Craig Wells twin guitar power, with both guitar clearly audible, one of them riffing/soloing along while the other reinforced the rhythm section. Roberto Proietti (rhythm guitar does a excellent job supporting Simone, power riffing along the music avenues. These two leaders have turned Eldritch into a trademark of Italian power sound.

First track, Still Screaming, is a perfect opener, fast paced, with heavy double riffs and excellent drumming courtesy of Dave Simeone. Save Me is a thrash-influenced song, with melodic chorus and excellent dual guitar solos. Harsh vocals, aggressive riffing, Annihilator-style is present on Bless Me Now, energetic and powerful song, with good backing vocals from the band. The somewhat slower The Dark Inside has good vocal harmonies and a progressive feel to it while More Than Marylin is more mainstream, melodic guitars with gifted extended guitar solo and cool vocals. Another Megadeth/Annihilator power/thrashier song – Come To Life sees Eugene Simone shredding style, aggressive approach and harsh vocals, yet keeping the melodic level very high.

Zero Man is an El Niño-era type of song, a progressive-melodic track with catchy riffs, superb vocals and an excellent mid-paced guitar solo. Standing Still and The Rain are classic Eldritch songs with walls of warmth, enhanced by the melodic voice backed by catchy guitar riffs, solid rhythm section and introspective, dreamy guitar solos. Toil Of Mine is one of the best songs on the album, with excellent drumming, fast paced angry and energetic vocal lines, the band’s power totally unchained, power riffing throughout the whole length of the song. The closing track of the album, My Second World is again a power riff-led song, tuning down for a quiet vocal part, and then bursting with energy with aggressive voice leading to the conclusion of the album.

My only complaint with this opus is that I can’t find on it a power tune able to lift Eldritch at the top of the power metal ranks. Tracks like Heretic Beholder or Nebula Surface off El Niño or Blindfolded Walkthrough or Slow Motion “K” Us off Portrait Of The Abyss Within are not repeated on Neighbourhell. Don’t get me wrong, all the tracks on the album are high-class, no fillers here but I could have done with some monster-catchy tracks as the aforementioned ones.

Still, this is an excellent power metal with Italian flavor release. Fans of the genre should get this as a blind purchase.
Killing Songs :
Bless Me Now, Zero Man, Toil of Mine
Ian quoted 81 / 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 - Portrait Of The Abyss Within reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Eldritch - Reverse reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 / 100
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