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Two entertaining tracks here - 63%

joncheetham88, January 6th, 2011

As the 'The Ultimate Eclipse' gets going, all throaty growls and burly death doom riffs augmented by Crematory style keyboards... it becomes clear that this is more than an attempt to emulate the sounds Ecliptic Dawn might have heard on recent goth albums. The nearest comparison I can think of is Keltgar, a disbanded Belgian group who operated mostly through demos and produced some fantastic deathly gothic doom.

Like Keltgar, the usual male narration and female singing accompanies the growls, but the sound on the guitar is good enough to keep those with short attention spans interested. Some interesting lead work later on the opening track has an Eastern feel akin to Melechesh. Sole fixed member Sam is in charge of keyboards (which are fairly ubiquitous here) and has an excellent deep grunt, put to good use again over the death metal propulsion of 'Moonless Nights', which sounds something like early Amorphis.

So Sam belongs in the early '90s with his robust vocals, and with a bit of work his keyboards could be integrated into a very satisfying early Crematory-type recipe. His only problem is instruments. Most people in Syria with an interest in playing metal want to be guitarists (like most people everywhere) and bassists and drummers are hard to come by. So there's a lot of keyboards here, since it is Sam's band after all, there's a drum computer and a number of guest musicians recruited to supply the actual metal. The instrumental 'Prologue into Darkness' is pointless, but then again I'm not the best person to talk to about short, instrumental keyboard prologues and interludes, unless they are stupidly fucking good for some reason. This isn't. It leads into 'Death of Eclipse Poetry', which lacks the frankly boring female vocals of earlier tracks but neither delivers the pounding guitars of the first two songs. This may be as a result of there being different musicians on each track.

It's nudging towards a combination of elegant Eastern-flavoured metal, which is certainly popular these days, and some very nice thrusting death doom. Unfortunately the record's final track is nothing memorable, but I can listen to the first two again for the cool, gruff death/ doom packed in among the soprano and other gothic flourishes. If the whole thing was like the second minute or so of 'The Ultimate Eclipse', just with a human drummer, it would stand a good chance at slaying. There's a lot of hard work gone into this, and the concept behind the band shows definite potential.