ETERNAL BREATH - THE JOKER
Review by Sloof
Quite unusual that a band finally decides to release their debut album after 20 years of existence. But it is lastly a reality, and although they released many demos in the past, it took 2 decades to get to the next step in their career. Perhaps, they were waiting for an interesting record deal, perhaps they wanted to focus on having fun instead of injecting extra money in the band. However, the lads can be proud on what they achieved, and I want to cheer them up, as “The Joker” sounds very interesting from start to finish! It’s better to wait a bit longer and release a solid and substantial product instead of a hasty job with a lousy production. In my opinion, Eternal Breath made the right decision!
All songs on “The Joker” can be considered as new material and the band wrote these 8 tracks as an unit, while vocalist Andy Polfliet took care of the lyrics. Their lyrical themes handle about social (mis)behavior and welfare topics in general. Production of the album was done by Pieter Nyckees at Shellshock Studio (Always Fallen), while mastering took place at CCR studio (Compulsive Core Recordings) with a helping hand of Kris Belaen (Sigmund Und Sein Freund). Every individual that helped to become this result did a fantastic job! The band sounds fresh yet heavy, melodic yet driven, but all in balance with the arrangement, and it’s a pleasure to listen through the whole album time after time!
The title track opens the album, and while The Joker is laughing out loud, the atmosphere turns into a menacing character. When the guitars of Marino Decaluwé and Robin Vancayseele get in shape, drummer Kenny Geerts (also guitarist in Belgian Heavy Metal act Wizz Wizzard) is demanding a lot of his skins to get this track into a modern Heavy Metal attack! This first acquaintance contains all elements that are necessary to raise fists and test your neck muscles! The overall sound of the album refers a little to the Old School tradition without sounding too dated, and that was a good move! ‘Mass Domination’ continues with an excellent start and high pitched vocals of Andy. While the screams incite and instigate, we get some guitar duels like the good old days! Eternal Breath succeeds in a devastating modus where instruments and vocals are melted into 1. Great job by these West-Flanders patriots, as their style is etched on Slayer with a more melodic twist and a wink to the glorious Heavy Metal era, even at full speed! There is some old school Metallica as reference but with an European twist and very vivid solos! The third track on this album is called ‘First Step’ and this neck breaking challenge offers very dominant guitars and a promising arrangement. This instrumental track is a great song, but I doubt if it’s not too early on the playlist. Consider this as a detail, nothing more!
There are also some guests on this album and Guy Commeene from Dyscordia is the axeman that delivers a solo in ‘Back In Time’. Guy was also responsible for the artwork of this album that fits perfectly to the music of Eternal Breath. ‘Back In Time’ is a bit slower with a main part for Andy’s vocals! The pace is increasing and there is a much more melodic approach on ‘Rich & Poor’ where Ostrogoth’s Josey Hendrix was invited as a guest. His vocal cords add variety in the song, and while the axes of Marino and Robin accelerate to the max we get wonderful vocals by Josey and Andy. Perhaps, I consider this track as the highlight of the album. Those that want some sing-along ingredients will be pleased with the song ‘Shadows Of The Dark’. This one opens very modest and rather slow, but that’s only for short time. This track will create a very positive vibe at live gigs, so consider this song as a recommended track!
The band is also capable to swing like a rollercoaster throughout their set! ‘End Of The Line’ will take you to all elements that a great song needs! There is some Thrash from After All, melody from Ostrogoth, a progressive touch of Dyscordia and freshness of Guilty As Charged, all fused into one massive track! Let’s say the best elements of Belgian Metal gathered in one song, awesome! Metal giants like Judas Priest are influential in the final track ‘Time’ but with the addition of deadly guitars. Rapid fire, very high pitched vocals and a worthy song to end this album that breaths vehemence, fierceness and enthusiasm. My enthusiasm is mainly referring to the blistering guitar solos, as they lift the songs to heights!
It also indicates that Belgium has a very flourishing scene with recently new albums from bands like Dyscordia, Patriarch, Fields Of Troy, Bloodrocuted, Whatever It Takes and Spoil Engine just to name a few. From now on, Eternal Breath can be considered as an engaged and obliged band that you will have to reckon with! They will become the ensign-bearer of Belgian metal together with upcoming albums from After All and The Difference, later this year! Check 'em out at: http://www.eternalbreath.be/ or via FB at: https://www.facebook.com/Eternal-Breath-120558891308431/
My rating: 87 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish