Eldritch - Blackenday
Limb Music Products
Progressive Power / Thrash Metal
12 songs (57'07)
Release year: 2007
Eldritch, Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Marty
Eldritch has always been one of those bands that seems to fly just slightly under the radar. They are responsible for some great progressive heavy metal that's big on vocal melodies and aren't afraid to use more aggressive, thrash metal overtones. In the 90's, albums like El Nino saw the band apparently ready to take the world by storm...but it never really materialized. Some 12 years later, the band is still around and releasing very solid and very unique sounding progressive metal; all wrapped up nicely with a great melodic sense, due largely to the solid voice of vocalist Terrance Holler. It's funny...everyone who finally decides to check these guys out ends up liking them very much. I've yet to hear anyone who really doesn't like this band nonetheless, they still seem to have that "underground" status and have never really enjoyed the glory and accolades that they so rightly deserve. For those of us who like this band and buy everything they put out, we can count ourselves as being true fans of one of the most (if not the most) underrated metal bands in existence.

I would never pour huge praises over all of the band's work and even some of their best albums have a few tracks that just don't make the cut. Their Reverse album in 2001 left a few of us scratching our heads at it's full throttle thrash/industrial metal sound. However, with Portrait Of The Abyss Within released shortly after, it seemed that Eldritch had finally found a new niche in blending their brand of progressive metal with some of the thrash aspects of Reverse yet infusing the kind of killer melody that was found on their earlier work in the 90's. Neighbourhell followed a couple of years later and pretty much kept true to the same formula. Now with Blackenday, we see a further continuation of the tried and true formula of their last 2 albums yet with a slightly darker edge and more atmospheric qualities.

The tracks on Blackenday fall mainly under the category of heavy prog metal but with some thrash metal styles such as found with the album opener Silent Flame and Deep Sleep (complete with a very John Bush style vocal by Terrance Holler). Songs like Frozen and The Child That Never Smiled also use thrash metal styled riffs and aggressive tones with The Fire turning it up a notch with super speed and a mix of whispery death metal vocals and aggressive thrash vocal styles. The title track (sort of) Blackened Day is the quintessential Eldritch track and incidentally is the first track to have a video shot for it. Heavy, dark and atmospheric, it also has epic and emotional qualities due to the great vocal performances. Check out the video for this track here, it's a great introduction to the band if you've never heard them before. Layne Staley and Alice In Chains comes to mind in the sort of vocal style with Why and the chugging, atmospheric riffs have an overall Savatage tone. This track is topped off nicely with some great shredding lead guitar work. Black Rain is the prototypical representation of the "new" Eldritch sound that we've seen with the last three albums. It mixes the classic, dark and heavy Eldritch sound of old with lots of melody and some killer thrash metal riffing.

As far as the band's approach to song writing, they prefer to build riffs around a basic overall melody instead of writing around riffs as most bands do. Memorable riffs seem to almost be added as an afterthought to "beef up" the sound. Another very notable characteristic of this band is that in the course of a single album, they can manage to sound like a totally different band even with the vocals on several tracks. Yet, the very melodic choruses that are such a staple of their sound are always a dead give away. Some aspects of their sound do remind you of other bands but the choruses to their songs are uniquely their own.

As I stated previously, this album pretty much sticks to the formula that we have seen for their last two albums namely Portrait Of The Abyss Within and Neighbourhell. In the past, this band was notorious for drastically changing their sound from album to album. Lately, it seems like they've finally settled for a formula that seems to work very well for them and it's great to see their sound really starting to develop even more character than ever before. Although they are largely a prog metal band, they really have a unique sound and a very catchy one at that. No matter how crushing and heavy a track is, there will always be atmospheric changes and lots of melody somewhere along the way...guaranteed. For fans of the band and especially those who like their last two albums, this is another great album as well. For those who've never heard of them before, you're really missing out on a very solid and unique band.

Killing Songs :
Silent Flame, Blackenday and Black Rain
Marty quoted 80 / 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 - Neighbourhell reviewed by Ian and quoted 81 / 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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