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Looking back today at the release The Parallel Otherworld by the band Eidolon, released in 2006, I feel that this album as kind of came and went without doing much waves. I barely ever hear this album, or even this band mentioned by metalheads when discussing progressive metal bands. This is very concerning to me, considering that this band, that now disbanded… which is a shame really, was a very capable band. Pillars of the band Shawn Drover and Glen Drover got involved with the legendary thrash metal band Megadeth a little before The Parallel Otherworld was released, and it seems to have affected the band enough for it to split-up by 2007. Shawn Drover is still in Megadeth right now in 2013, while Glen Drover has left the band to focus on his solo project.
Eidolon’s sound has evolved quite a bit throughout their years of existence. Their magnus opus is, and will forever remain their last one, The Parallel Otherworld. Unless of course if they decide to reform and work on another album again. In which case, they would most likely not end up surpassing themselves.
Eidolon on this specific record manages to put together elements of progressive metal, with trash and power metal in a very unique way, but that still reminds me of other bands. Their sound is somewhat reminiscent of the music of both Nervermore’s Godless Endeavor, and Symphony X’s The Odyssey or V: The New Mythology Suite. The musicians of Eidolon have built their music for this album around lengthy progressive, thick and heavy metal riffs, sustained by Nils K. Rue’s vocals jumping from power metal vocals to thrash metal vocals, back and forth throughout the album. Even if this album has a very progressive feeling with riffs stretching through two or three bars sometimes before repeating, most of the tracks are built around one or two main riffs. In cases like on Arcturus #9, Astral Flight or Thousand Winters Old it becomes very noticeable. But since these mains riffs are catchy, heavy and supported by great bridges, choruses and a strong bass and percussions section, they never get boring. Not once during the listening of this album have I felt that the music was going nowhere. It just seems that Eidolon managed to gather together the simple and catchy approach to music of power metal and combined it with energetic, progressive thrash metal riffs. A prime example of this is the title I’ve mentioned a little earlier, Thousand Winters Old. Mostly built around the two mains riffs heard in the first minute of the track, little variations of the same riffs and bridges between the sections make these riffs feel fresh and badass every single time they come around.
If some of the tracks have simple structures, good heavy and thick metallic guitar riffs to create catchy and memorable tracks built around one or two riffs, Eidolon manages with stunning longer tracks like Ghost World, The Parallel Otherworld and The Oath to really show off their progressive metal influences. Of course, these tracks also have riffs that repeat during the chorus, but the guitars and bass takes a little more freedom on these tracks. Throwing in some solos, mostly forgettable ones sadly, and expanding around the riffs a little more.
What we have on this record is a good mix of shorter tracks (five or six minutes) with simple structures and a few solid riffs to build great tracks and a few longer tracks (seven to eleven minutes) on which the band let’s their progressive metal elements shine. What really makes this album a great progressive thrash/power metal album is how well the rhythm guitars are built to match with the vocals. Teamwork between the guitars and the vocals is what really makes this record. Even if the riffs on this album are absolutely great, they need the vocals. The tracks on this album leave a very important and predominant role to fill by the vocals. Spirit Sanctuary is a very good example to support my point. On this specific track, the guitars play their more complex riffs when the vocalist is silent, and play more simple supportive riffs when the vocals jump in.
Bottom line, the album The Parallel Otherworld is to me, one of these underrated or maybe forgotten records that would really deserve more recognition. On this album, Eidolon offers a solid mix of power, thrash and progressive metal. If the album does remind me of Symphony X or Nevermore, I wouldn’t say that the progressive elements are as solid on The Parallel Otherworld as they are on The Odyssey, V: The New Mythology Suite or This Godless Endeavor. Glen Drover’s progressive guitar riffs writing skills aren’t quite on par with Michael Romeo’s ones. What Glen Drover manages to do though, is write a good and catchy brand of progressive power/thrash that, in my opinion, outshines bands like Nevermore when it comes to the general feeling and musicality of the tracks.
The album closes on a fucking amazing cover of The Oath by Mercyful Fate. Rue’s vocals on this track would make King Diamond proud. He screams his lungs out over a very enjoyable interpretation of the legendary band’s track played by his fellow band members. This is the best ending imaginable to such an album. If you’re a power metal or a progressive metal fan, you’ll want to hear this one, at least once in your life. It’s an album with a unique, yet familiar sound. It’s very sad that this band doesn’t exist anymore…
Before 'The Parallel Otherworld' even came out, probably during the recordings of the album, Eidolon announced that the album would probably be their last for some time. Of course, the reason for this is that the Drover brothers, the core of the band, are involved with Megadeth now, a band that is undoubtedly very time absorbing. And that's really too bad. Don't get me wrong, I love Megadeth and I wish the Drover brothers all the best with that band, but Eidolon had just gotten rid of one of their most annoying factors; singer Pat Mulock, who made a few songs a torture to listen to, was finally sacked after their last album 'Apostles Of Defiance', in favor of the technically much more capable Nils K. Rue from the Norwegian Prog Metal band Pagan's Mind. I think the Drover brothers and Rue got to know each other via some kind of King Diamond network, as that artist is a big influence they all share.
Nils K. Rue has definitely made this album a major improvement over 'Apostles Of Defiance'. He combines a wider range than his two predecessors with a power that his two predecessors could only dream of. And apparently, the Drover brothers were impressed by his lyrical skills as well, as Shawn Drover, for the first time in Eidolon's history, let go of the lyrics in favor of the singer. That results in lyrics about astral themes, just like in Pagan's Mind, which definitely works for the sound. So with Rue at the helm, Eidolon finally got rid of their weakest link.
However, there are still a couple of weak links Eidolon needs to work on before their enormous talents could fully be displayed. First and foremost, 'The Parallel Otherworld' still suffers from this quite stiff digital drum sound that Shawn Drover seems to prefer. Personally, I think the music would sound a little warmer and more authentic if Shawn tried out a more analog sound. He probably thinks it's more modern this way. Which it is, but more modern doesn't necessarily mean better. Another weak link that needs a little work is that Glen Drover's riffing needs a little more variation. When you listen to the album more often, the identity of the separate songs reveals slowly, but the album might sound a little monotonous upon first listen.
On the bright side, the individual efforts of the musicians as well as the efforts of the band as a whole have greatly improved over the last album. There seems to be a little more flow in the rhythms of Shawn Drover and Adrian Robichaud's bass playing is actually audible very well on this album. I love the sound of it! The song material isn't as strong as the song material on 'Coma Nation' by far, or even the song material on 'Nightmare World', but the overall performance by the band compensates that quite nicely.
The choice of opening with the album's title track seems a strange one, since the song is eleven and a half minutes long and quite progressive. However, the structure of the song makes it a good opener anyway, the first couple of minutes of the song make a wonderful intro for the album, just the combination of the rhythms, the keyboards and the amazing guitar work build up a really nice thing. My only complaint about this song is that it seems to be a few shorter songs in one, just like a few of their previous epics ('Dreamscape' off of 'Nightmare World' comes to mind) the song just stops and a new tranquil part begins. However, Nils K. Rue has probably kept this in mind and based the entire song around this one single theme, letting lyrical and vocal themes return all throughout the song, making a complete unity of it anyway.
My first favorite off of the album is 'Ghost World'. This song has quite epic proportions as well, clocking at seven and a half minutes, but does have that flow I'd like to hear in an epic. The song is a very strong composition, made even stronger by Nils K. Rue's stellar vocal performance. Especially the chorus is a treat for all you vocal freaks out there. Glen Drover's riffs are amazing, as is his short solo near the end of the song. The one in the beginning is really strong as well, but the one near the end is something of those really short, but really powerful deals. One of the highlights of Eidolon's carreer, most definitely.
'Shadowanderer (Ferdamannen)', the last of the band's own compositions on this album is also definitely one of the best songs on the album. 'Shadowanderer' is also a more epic, progressive song, even though Glen Drover's guitar playing is rather thrashy and the rhythms in the song are relatively straightforward. There's this (I guess) Norwegian choir part in the middle of the song that is something quite unique for Eidolon and definitely something they wouldn't have done without Nils' presence. It's followed by this killer '80's Heavy Metal riff. The only things which could be considered really "Prog" is the middle part, where there's a clean guitar and some quite "spacey" vocal melodies and the clean, creeping outro. This song is to me a really interesting one, I didn't even notice it lasted about seven minutes until I checked it. It's just creepy how much Nils sounds like his predecessor Pat Mulock in the chorus, but not nearly as disturbing. The sound is just similar. Once again, a highlight.
But the absolute highlight of 'The Parallel Otherworld', and that may sound strange from a cover-hater as myself, is Eidolon's rendition of the Mercyful Fate classic 'The Oath'! As much as I love the original, there are some factors Eidolon, which consists of huge fans of the work of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, even surpasses on their cover version. Of course, there is the productional side of the whole thing. Then, it was 1984 and now it is 2006, so of course the band has a better produced version of this, with less of an obsession for reverb. Count that to the fact that the original lead guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner play the guitar solos to this track and most of all that Nils K. Rue has the uncanny ability to sound EXACTLY like King Diamond, both in his lower and higher range and what you get is 'The Oath' exactly like Mercyful Fate would make it sound when recorded in 2006. Pagan's Mind's cover of King Diamond's 'At The Graves' (with Glen Drover on lead guitars) was already a really strong one, but Nils K. Rue now has something to be even more proud of.
There's enough to listen to for the fan of any side of Eidolon. The Thrashers will probably be pleased by songs like 'Arcturus # 9' and 'Spirit Sanctuary', the fans of the more tempo Heavy Metal tracks will most likely get their fill by listening to 'Astral Flight' and 'Thousand Winters Old' and the fans of more progressive stuff have 'The Eternal Call' and 'Order Of The White Light' to listen to, but the absolute highlights for me personally are the ones I have just extensively described.
So, 'The Parallel Otherworld' is not what I hoped for, being 'Coma Nation' with a much better singer. In fact, upon first listen, the album was a disappointment and even though I don't regret giving the album a chance, I still think 'Coma Nation' is vastly superior to this one. 'Nightmare World' also has stronger song material than this one. However, after a couple of spins, 'The Parallel Otherworld' reveals more of its secrets and proves to be a solid Eidolon album, which finally gets the vocalist it deserves. Let me conclude with hoping that their involvement with Megadeth won't stop Glen and Shawn Drover from making records with Eidolon, that would be a complete waste of their unlimited talents. Eidolon is Metal in the truest sense of the genre.
After enduring the holy wars and triumphantly touring relentlessly with Megadeth over the last few years, the brothers grim, Glen and Shawn Drover, have finally released a new Eidolon offering unto the order of the white light. Now equipped with new vocalist Nils K. Rue, from Pagan's Mind, the parallel otherworld will soon be obtained and transversed. This CD an aggressive, progressive propensity, is itself a spangled spectre with intriguing lyrics, rakish rifffage, and soulful solos. This is the first time since the band's inception that Shawn has not penned his pedantic poetry. The brainchild brothers have concentrated all of their efforts towards creating the utmost memorable music. These apostles of defiance, therefore, have relinquished the horror epics to the twisted and protracted pagan mindful musings of Nils' surrealistic creations..
The CD initiates the listener with it's longest track - the album's namesake - a haunting, brooding brew of supernatural superlatives. Nils vocals are truly unique, elevating Eidolon to the next parallel. Nils stlye is similar to these semimal achievers: the Guardian Jon Arch, the Skeptic John Cyrris, and the Diamond King Kim Bendix Pedersen. I also notice just a hint and a tinge of the Savage Jon Oliva or the warning cry of Geoff Tate.
Some of the songs feature beguiling guest musicianship. Among the elite are Michael Romeo, Chris Caffery, Frank Aresti, and Kim Mitchell. The Eternal Call is an excellent exuberant example of this, as Chris and Frank trade off solos with Glen. The two most essential guest stars are to be found on the rendering of Merciful Fate's The Oath. This killer cover exhibits Hank Sherman and Michael Denner themselves playing all the guitar parts, except the closing solo, for which Glen does justice and honour. Nils delights the senses as he dresses his vocal aperture in white arrraignment, characteristically channels the King ever so puissantly. The discerning ear will wonder if this is indeed just a cover, or the magniloquent original itself.
Many critical comparisons have been idling along, with false witness bearing too many unwarranted accusations against Eidolon. They claim that there is a lack of originality, and with Nils singing, the music is just too similar to the sound of Pagan's Mind. In essence, given Nils nuances and vocal verisimilitude, I seldom detect any aspect of Pagan's mind music; but as I scrutinize more meticulously,, the sounds of classic Fates Warning, Savatage, Agent Steel, Psychotic Waltz, and Shadow Gallery presently come to mind. Obviously, one must not dismiss the Megadeth like silence, given the fact that Shawn and Glen has been engaged in the rustic service of selling peace . Each musician distinctly discovers his own direction and this serves to solidify Eidolon's indestructive innocence and immeasurable talent..
Once again, Jan Menninghaus has painted another ill-fated portrait of faith in sepia, with the sanguine sinner screaming out as he rises from the city beneath the surface. Eidolon cast aspersion upon any false idols of ignorance; especially for those lost souls of excoriation wandering aimlessly in the ghost world of modern critique. Here the shadowanderers have conducted and created their most versatile work to date, heeding the eternal call of spirit sanctuary on this astral flight tonight.
as originally posted at www.metalcovenant.com
Yees ! Finally, after three years Eidolon are back again, first album with new vocalist Nils K Rue. And even better is that they here have done another killer album, a lot better and not at all as monotonous as the 2003’s disappointing album “Apostles of Defiance". Everything has changed for the better since that “wrong-direction”-step.
Maybe the best change of all lies in the vocalist change, Nils is without doubt the best vocalist in Eidolon so far in their career. He doesn’t sing in the same way the whole album through, and this – as you can – imagine is a huge plus. He has also done the work with all the lyrics this time (drummer Shawn has always done it so far). And Nils has done a great work with them, and it suits the kind of themes Eidolon have sung about before. Nicely done. The music and song structure on this album isn’t as “going in circles” as on “Apostles” either. The interludes and guitar solos too have improved a lot, now it’s true classical Glen-solos right through, and it’s feels great. The production is as always, great and heavy, a bit similiar to “Coma Nation”’s production, but still in another direction. In any way, it’s heavy and delightful for the ears, possibly Eidolon’s best produced album.
The album this time begins with a “long-song”, 11½ minutes long titletrack “The Parallel Otherworld”. An awesome song, and absolutely as good as for example “Withing The Gates” and “Dreamscape”. The song begins with a mystical keyboard intro, rest of the song is shifting nicely between heavy passages and acoustic, of course the heavier parts are the better, but the acoustic ones ain’t that bad actually. In any way, this song is perfect for an opener. The rest of the record is a great mixture of slower/speedier songs, just like it’s always been with Eidolon. Once again they’ve shown that they can write awesome heavy metal songs, and do splendid and at times “unexpected” riffing-passages, which means it comes a riff you wouldn’t thought have come at that place, and mostly there’s absoutely nothing to complain about. Some songs may take some listens until one starts to like them, but some get stuck directly.
In overall, this albums gives hope for a better future, that Eidolon can still do great albums, and that it’s just to forget the mistake with “Apostles O.D”. A last thing I would like to mention is the really cool cover, one of the better covers in the band’s discography actually, Jan Meininghaus has done a great job.. If you’re a fan of the band you should have your thoughts about buying it. Fans of crunchy power/thrash metal in general should really check up this one. Now let’s just hope for some more albums in class with this one in the future :)