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My first exposure to Italy’s Eldritch was with 2004′s “Portrait Of The Abyss Within”, which I rather enjoyed. Since then, I’d more or else settled on them as a relatively inconsistent band when it came to my tastes. I heard all of the clucking about “Gaia’s Legacy” as the release date approached, and then not much afterwards. Finally able to properly examine this new effort for myself, I find it to be somewhat difficult to review due to its contents.
When I said that I found Eldritch to be inconsistent, I meant both lyrically and musically. Their lyrics have never been that great (and sometimes fairly dumb, as on “Blackenday”), but I’ve come to them occasionally for their fairly contemplative, sometimes melancholic take on society and struggle. While this latest album does indeed deal with society and the planet, it’s rather different. Namely: this is not the occasional, reasonably well-penned tune about the state of the world, but an all out pessimistic assault on one’s environmental awareness. Now sure, this ought to get some people to wake up, since even if you don’t necessarily agree with what Eldritch (and their inspirator Al Gore) are saying, you have to admit that humanity as a whole is collectively stupid and wasteful when it comes to environmental awareness. But I’m not here to preach at you, as Eldritch will sure as heck do more than enough of that. No, I get awfully sick of hearing “CFC Gasses!”, “Global Warming!”, and “Fossil Fuels!” shouted at me over and over again. I personally feel that this whole bit should have been saved for the protests and social activism, since it just annoys me, a vocally green-minded individual. Especially since there’s no subtlety, no veil over their words. No, Eldritch are sure to put it into words that a four-year-old could understand. “We need to help our mother earth!”
I get it, the second track was enough.
BUT, (and I need that in all caps) in spite of their clumsy and irritating tree-hugging, this album is quite consistent musically. In fact, I think I can say that it’s my favorite Eldritch release to date in term of composition, technicality, and vocal performance. The guitar lines here are tempestuous and churning, with just the right amount of hardcore proggy riffs thrown in for good effect. Opener “Deviation”, along with “Everything’s Burning” prove exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve never had such a consistently interesting musical offering from this band, and there are some parts that I absolutely love, although the album gets thinner as it goes on. Were it for the music alone, I could play this even more regularly than PotAW…
But those lyrics! I am unable, like many people, to completely blank out what’s being sung at me. Therefore, this album takes me from head banging to rolling my eyes again and again. It’s almost like Alestorm syndrome, the band sings about the same thing in the same way for so long that there’s only so much appreciation that can be gleaned for it. In spite of this, I imagine myself returning here occasionally. Those who really appreciate environmentalism in their metal will enjoy this album immensely, especially if you follow it up with a healthy love of reasonably good power/prog. While I have the latter, I can’t grip the former. Maybe next time Eldritch will really deliver something that I can sink my teeth into without getting splinters.
Originally written for blackwindmetal.com/
In the last three years, after “Livequake”, Eldritch have worked hard, have had a lot of live shows and finally they’ve recorded their last work under “Scarlet Records”: Gaia’s legacy. This work is a concept album inspired by Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming and the dangers of environment due of pollution and wrong politics which are slowly killing our earth Gaia. Eldritch built around this topic, a dark sound album full of progressive parts and melodic arrangements. Furthermore the new keyboards player, Gabriele Caselli is a new arrow for Eldritch’s bow: his distorted leads and brilliant sounds create a strong wall with Eugene and Gianneschi's guitars heavy riffs. Great work for Terence Holler which voice is aggressive in the heaviest songs but also calm and relaxing in the last song Thirst In Our Hands, like a sad lament.
Like every progressive album, Gaia’s Legacy needs to be listened a lot of times in order to be understood completely. The first half of the album is the best one, even if the last two songs Thoughts Of Grey and Thirst In Our Hands are the best tracks. After a short intro, Deviation opens the concept, followed by Our Land which alternate heavy (classic Eldritch style) guitars riffs with melodic refrains. Note the beautiful piano riff in the intro of Our land which really rocks. Vortex of Disaster is a classic Eldritch song characterized by a sad atmosphere and trash guitar parts followed by the ballad Mother Earth and the interesting Everything’s Burning (Video song). Tonight Out and Like a Child (with Bob Katzionis keyboards solo) are the weakest part of the album even if they are good songs. Thoughts of Grey is the best one (in my opinion) characterized by a “strange” but very original and innovative refrain and an incredible middle instrumental part . Finally the sad ballad Thirst in our Hands which is the best piano ballad I’ve heard in the last years. Great job with the Fates Warning cover.
To sum up, I’ve to say that this work is one of the best album in Eldritch discography and one of the best album of the year. Great job.
Let's face it: the idea of global warming has become one of the most important theories/ideas revealed in the 21st century, even if you don't buy into it. There's been research, protests, movies, regulations, and I'm just waiting for the Smurfs to announce they've gone green too. Yet the figurehead of this phenomenon is former US presidential candidate Al Gore. You may know him as the man that invented the internet, the dude whom revealed the lockbox, the hunter that killed Manbearpig, and the protector of more trees than a horde of butthurt hippies on a shitload of LSD. His influence has stemmed all over the world, and the gentlemen of Eldritch took quite a liking to "An inconvenient Truth," the ignition that started it all. "Gaia's Legacy" is a concept album about Al Gore's famed documentary and the general process of global warming, including environmental ignorance, pollution, and more organic cheese than you can handle.
As you see, I really don't take this record seriously. Eldritch is an Italian progressive metal faction that has turned heads around their nation of origin and some parts of the world, with "Gaia's Legacy" being their eight album. They pretty much deliver a spot-on representation of what progressive metal is supposed to be. I mean, you got the small chugs and semi-thrash touches, a good singer, verse-chorus structures, some complicated bass work, odd rhythms and geometrical guitar work swaying in and out of these algebraic themes, and some expected keys. The whole record is typical fare for progressive metal, starting the album with a prog-inspired chug and keyboards dipping in and out of the group's rhythmic pounding before Terence Holler drops his melodic, calming voice into the mix; it's pretty standard stuff overall. Eldritch knows the ins and outs of progressive metal and its associated ideas, and if you've ever heard Dream Theater or Fates Warning, then you'll easily relate to Eldritch's work throughout "Gaia's Legacy."
You could say that Eldritch's dependency on typical progressive metal leaves little to express, and there are sequential periods when the content plummets significantly into pure redundancy. The opening numbers aren't too shabby, just catchy tunes that stay loyal to the norms of progressive metal in its most calculated postulate. However, "Gaia's Legacy" desperately lacks an authentic climax or deviation from the aforementioned pattern to truly lift it beyond the passable stage, and by the time "Signs" comes along, things are pretty much unbearable and you'd have to dissect the deepest part of my memory in order for me to remember the lifelessness of the album's final chapters. And that Fates Warning cover? Not even close to the magic of the original.
In spite of the occasional dip on the musical end, the lyrical concept is actually pretty cool, and there are several samples regarding environmental prophecy and ignorance segueing the cornucopia of songs. Not deeply important, but it's nice to have frosting on the cake, or in this case, a sanctuary for the whales. As a whole, "Gaia's Legacy" remains in a safe dome that never runs from the family portrait of progressive metal. I probably would've enjoyed a shorter listen without the filler on the tail end of "Gaia's Legacy," but Eldritch still leaves with a harmless, acceptable portrayal of progressive metal that delivers just what it promises, although a little less pollution would've been nice.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com