Sear Bliss - Eternal Recurrence
7 songs (37:37)
Release year: 2012
Sear Bliss, Candlelight
Reviewed by Charles
Over their lengthy career Sear Bliss have carved out a genuinely distinctive niche for themselves, which is something that cannot be said for many bands. Their music is a grandiose and ambitious beast, based around a blackened gothic sensibility but heavily laden with synthed strings and brass. Nothing unusual in that, of course, but it’s where they take those ideas that is of interest. Their sound manages to locate and explore hitherto unnoticed gaps between a perplexity of poles, and Eternal Recurrence has a wide-ranging, adventurous feel that wafts between reference points as disparate as Sigh, My Dying Bride, Klabautamann and Emperor.

For the uninitiated, that obviously means this is a difficult record to properly describe. The basic metallic foundation here is somewhere between black and gothic doom. A Lost Cause would be emblematic: a gliding mid-tempo doom riff is augmented by wistful Paradise Lost-ian clean vocals, but given menace by a blackened rasp and double-kick drumming. The latter is a threat made reality later in the track where we clatter suddenly into a flurry of blasting. This balance can be very powerful, as with the stomping riffing of New Era of Darkness, which is one of the major highlights here. But the band’s signature is really its eclecticism, spearheaded especially by its orchestral elements- synthed strings and apparently real brass, handled flamboyantly by Balázs Bruszel, making his first appearance with the band. These elements serve a multifaceted purpose, sometimes adding the gloomy grandeur of symphonic black metal, like on Great Cosmic Disorder, or alternatively a loopier character altogether. For the latter, look at opener The Eternal Quest, where the brass section veers precariously from muted jazz trumpet evoking Ephel Duath to ferociously powerful orchestral backing conjuring Dimmu Borgir.

The album also journeys still further afield, often with impressive results. One such instance is Ballad of the Shipwrecked, the best song on Eternal Recurrence. This is a great track: a sea shanty, whose pleasingly sombre feel steers well clear of the iceberg of Alestorm-alike kitsch. What’s more, it even winds its way mysteriously into more mellifluous progressive ideas somewhat akin to the aforementioned Klabautamann, including a rather lovely, lyrical lead solo. Then there’s the closer, Entering the Seventh Gate, which develops slowly into a mad, Arcturus like carnival of lurching rhythms and cackling vocals. Sear Bliss deserve credit for their ambitious and creative metal, and they should also find new fans with this record.

Killing Songs :
The Eternal Quest, Ballad of the Shipwrecked, New Era of Darkness
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Sear Bliss that we have reviewed:
Sear Bliss - Letters From the Edge reviewed by Andy and quoted 86 / 100
Sear Bliss - The Arcane Odyssey reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
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