Eshtadur - Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me
Gate of Horror Productions
Melodic Black Metal
9 songs (32'33")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Alex

South American extreme music is often associated with some raw and violent death/black metal. Columbian Eshtadur and their mainman Jorge ‘George’ Lopez have taken their band into a different direction on their second full-length Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me. While still clinging to the vestiges of black/death metal genre, the album is a quite dynamic effort, swinging in several directions, but most of the time resting with the thrashy Gothenburg riffs, adding Scandinavian influences which might please the fans of Lord Belial, Necrophobic and Dimmu Borgir circa Spiritual Black Dimensions. Although in hopes of emphasizing their professionalism the production of Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me becomes in spots a little sterile, a little paint-by-numbers, the melodies and overall energetic effort won me over.

Trying to vary the pace on the album, Eshtadur go from breakneck speed to brutal drag and back to rapid beats in the span of a song. They can even do it several times per song, and in any order of tempos, not to try and follow a certain template (Another Alien Messiah, Abigor, Nightmare in a Church). Beyond the Shadows and Abigor begin racing like there is no tomorrow, but don’t forget to slam on the breaks midway. Another Alien Messiah, on the other hand, opens up with downtuned hardcore thumping, only to thrash away moments later. While Eshtadur thrashy blasting is definitely not devoid of flair, and here and there woven solos (title track, Son of a Witch) help in that department, the insistence on brutality seems a touch forced in order to maintain the muscular image. The more desperate feel of the riffs on Take Me to the Morgue actually provided glimpses of the band achieving the goals less with downtuned smashes, but more so with subtlety and even epic feel.

The more experimental side of Eshtadur is in their ability to blend in keyboards and synthesizers. If Beyond the Shadows (and its Spanish version Más allá de las sombras) only have small hints of the instrument, title track provides not mere flashes, but integrates keyboards throughout. The Girl Who Hated a Priest goes even further, invoking horror movie atmosphere, bordering on Cradle of Filth, Cadaveria or more extreme King Diamond. Looking at the cover art, but lacking the lyrics, the suspicion about the aforementioned atmosphere is confirmed. At the same time, there is no ridiculous overreliance on having the keyboards lead the way. George Lopez is varying and layering his vocals between almost hysterical high shrieks and mid-timbre singing growls (especially when the tempo slows down and riffs go brutal), which makes another reference to Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth (although the shrieking does not come nowhere close to Dani Filth).

As a quick half-hour punchy effort Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me does not overstay its welcome. When listening to it I was reminded of the see above slew of references, and if not for the cinematic angle and more gothic/black orientation, you could further compare Eshtadur with now defunct Mexican Buried Dreams. That collective once took a trip all the way to Sweden to record the album in the land which defined their sound. Eshtadur is another melodic death-black/Norsecore European style transplant into the heart of Columbia which has quality behind it.

Killing Songs :
Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me, Nightmare in a Church, Take to Me to Morgue
Alex quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Eshtadur that we have reviewed:
Eshtadur - Oblivion reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
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