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The riffs prevail! - 90%

Crimsonblood, October 16th, 2002

Armed with a new vocalist, Eidolon has unleashed Coma Nation, but nothing has really changed from the last couple of offerings; they still play Thrashy Power Metal. When I say Power Metal, please don’t think symphonic keys and tales about fairyland. This is hard hitting, crushing, and neck breaking Power Metal folks, plain and simple.

The riffs are very heavy, not to mention choppy (in typical Thrash fashion) at times. The tone is dirty, feeling more akin to, once again, Thrash Metal. So why is this not considered pure Thrash Metal then? For one, Eidolon does use a decent amount of melody, both in the guitars and especially the vocals. Much like the former vocalist, Pat Mulock brings a highly melodic and somewhat high singing voice to the mix. Likewise, the way the songs are structured is very similar to US Power Metal. Instead, you could almost say that Eidolon have a bit of an epic feel, due in part to progressive song writing elements, riff changes, and soaring vocals that also create a unique feel. There is more than one song on Coma Nation that clocks in at over 6 minutes, including the monster closing track, “Within The Gates” which is 18:46 of epic and devastating Metal. Eidolon also change things up quite a bit, providing us with speedy neck breakers in the form of the title track and “A Day Of Infamy”, which is full of double bass, and then the mid-paced to fast riff heavy tracks, such as “Life In Agony” and “Scarred” also show up in abundance. Almost all songs do have fast sections, but Eidolon now tend to focus more on build up and mid-paced riffs turned into fast, choppy runs- a contrast to the overall speedier feel of past releases. Like I said, Eidolon really haven’t slowed down, they just place their faster sections, in general, more sparingly, but nevertheless equally as successfully.

Production wise, things worked out very well. The tone and of the guitars is excellent, with the bass and drums being at a nice volume- the bass drums are especially powerful. One very minor complaint, however, is the snare drum tends to blend in a little too much with the bass drum, but once the riffs take control you’re too busy head banging to notice. The new vocalist is quite successful, but to be honest there isn’t that much of a difference from the last one. While his singing style works well, I would like to perhaps hear some more rough sounding sections, not necessarily a death growl, maybe something like what Matt Barlow from Iced Earth occasionally uses. I think it would fit well with the more raw sound of the band. On the final track “Within The Gates” we do hear some Death growls and in my opinion they are very successful! Furthermore, I enjoyed the acoustic sections, especially on “The Pentacle Star”, and this feature coupled with some other factors (mostly song writing style and vocal melodies) also reminds me of the latest offering from Destiny’s End. The guitar work is also very impressive, which goes without saying.

Overall I was pleased with Coma Nation. I had very high expectations for this CD, and while the band didn’t quite reach them, they came very close. In fact, after the first couple of songs I was ready to come to the conclusion that while Coma Nation would be a quality listen, they would leave me somewhat disappointed based from their Nightmare World release specifically. But with that said, once the rest of the disc was spun, my opinion quickly changed as things really start picking up the further you get into the track listing. The brilliance and talent of this band is undeniable, but you know what, I think they can do even better, perhaps with their next release they will become the band that I believe they can become. So with that being said, Coma Nation’s combination of crushing guitars, progressive qualities, melodic vocals, unique lyrics and atmosphere should please all but the most finicky Power Metal fans.

Song highlights: Coma Nation, Life Of Agony, A Day Of Infamy, Hunt You Down, From Below, and Within The Gates