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Eternal Tears of Sorrow is one of the few bands that stuck to their genre. Their sound had just few minor changes over time, but the essence of this gorgeous band still resides in the depth of their songs. This is a band worth listening to. You will never regret buying an EToS album.
Chaotic Beauty is more...romantic, if you ask me. Unlike the other albums where you were able to find infernal riffs and blastbeats, half of the songs on this album are rather calm and melancholic. For instance, "Autumn's Grief", which in its essence is 100% a ballad. Also, "Bride of the Crimson Sea" and "Nocturnal Strains" are very deep, incredibly hierarchical tracks, though the thrashy riffs are still a vital part in EToS's music. On this album they focus more on keys than on guitars, and these keys combined here and there with Sinergy's Kimberly Goss braid into perfection. Their music and especially the music of this album is another badge for Finland, another rose on its icy crest.
If you have more money than you need, haste yourself, shatter the walls of a music magazine with your car, and buy this outstanding piece of art. I owe this band's discovery to my first girlfriend, which was listening to them everyday. I thank her for this and I hate her because the addiction under which I succumbed to these Finnish gods.
It is quite often that melodeath bands are compared to Children of Bodom, this with the fair reason of them gaining so much fame out of doing so much shit and basically just two good albums. This happens with several other genres, too. As for me and all the melodeath I've heard, the genre is bound to be epic, sometimes even symphonic, and extreme at the same time. Eternal Tears of Sorrow certainly knows how to balance this element not to abuse any of each and keep a perfect equality, thus creating a masterpiece such as "Chaotic Beauty" is. Melodeath is a genre that has always catched my attention easily, as it blends in many of the characteristics of metal together and sounds really good if done properly, just as it is in "Chaotic Beauty".
Altti Veteläinen has some real talent for generating the harsh vocals, keeping them as sharp and grunty as needed, giving aggressivity and a monstrous touch to the music, unlike some other *cough*Alexi Laiho*cough* melodic death metal singers that would fit much better in a thrash band. Kimberly Goss sings in a few songs for this album, too. I must admit I really hate her because of what she did to Warmen's "Beyond Abilities", but hell, she did an awesome job in here; so good that my favorite song from the album, "Bride of the Crimson Sea", has her really often in the vocals. Along the songs where she sings, she balances all that horrendous (said in a good way) singing by Altti with some operatic, Tarja-style singing that adds melody to the songs.
As for the guitars, they do an excellent job. Not all of the riffing is just some insanely fast root-notes, but it keeps the music interesting mixing along the drum's rhythm with some nice power chords and giving relaxing bends in pre-choruses and the likes. As for the solos, well, Antti-Matti is not the most talented guitar player ever, but if he was just too good the album would have been over-the-top and just really out of place. He does some good enough scale runs and whatever to keep it interesting, yet essential.
I must say I bow to Pasi Hiltula. He adds mostly all of the melody to this masterpiece and, hell, he does it in a great way. The keyboards are, most of the time, some really loud orchestration that are just behind the guitar adding a lot of ressonance to it, but at times they catch the attention quite nicely. Yes, there are keyboard solos in the album, too. Pasi has a sound that resembles a bit Janne Wirman. His style of playing is pretty similar, he uses triplets, bends, and tremolos almost as much as Wirman; not nearly as fast, though. I must admit he did a good job with the solos, even though I can't say these are the best keyboard solos I've heard, although his strings backup is among the best.
The drumming is quite essential. There is not much to say about it, some nice cymbal-playing here and there and the rhythms are nice, too, but nothing to impressive. Hell, I was forgetting something! Check out the drum solo outro in "Shattered Soul", that's where Petri lets his soul go out.
I consider "Chaotic Beauty" to be perfect because of how good Eternal Tears of Sorrow blend everything in and prevent it from being repetitive, which is a syndrome many good albums suffer. In "Chaotic Beauty" you'll find just everything: from fast, string-cutting riffs, to slow and melodic bends; from some nice keyboard backups to key-ripping solos, and from epic to extreme. After listening to this, you'll see Children of Bodom (except Janne) are just a bunch of whimps trying to do melodic death metal.
Note: As this review being my first, I've had to lower the rating after I figured I exaggerated it a bit.
The title of this album is absolutely self-explanatory: this whole album is literally beauty mixed with atrocious CHAOS (which is also why it is one of my favorite albums of all time). This would somewhat make sense, however, considering the fact that this band is distinguished as "melodic death metal," and I say "agreed."
Getting on to the actual music, it is definitely clear that this album has a lot of influences from many other melodeath bands; the album consists of descent vocals (slightly high pitched growls), a certain level of heaviness, presence of keyboards, and still retaining plenty of memorable melodies. Now, I just mentioned a bunch of elements that all seem to be a part of this album, but one would wonder what the difference between this band and any other melodic death metal band? Well, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, unlike other bands in the same genre, pretty much has the perfect balance of these elements. For example, I mentioned keyboards as one of the elements; the keyboards on this album significantly enhances the listener's experience with the music, because it creates such an emotional atmosphere that I personally have never heard of before. One song that they definitely pull this off in is "Autumn's Grief." This song also works perfectly too as its lyrics capture a great deal of emotion.
"This crimson stream will be the final step
On the path of our mortal lives"
"Together we lived our lives...
And together we will leave...
It shall be the final tie
Of our bloody seal..."
I'm not really much of an expert on literature or anything, but god DAMN! If this doesn't give you an eargasm, then Satan must've raped your ears so much that none of the love from your mother remains inside you.
As the whole album continues, you will most likely finding yourself in a completely different world, because some of the songs that you will encounter will lead you across a an entire spectrum of depth of music that many other forms of melodic metal fail to do. "The Seventh Eclipse" is a track early in the album that definitely creates a whole new world to the listener with uses of keyboards throughout the song and powerful vocals. Even the lyrics of this song completely capture the scene with beautifully placed imageries and metaphors:
"I see the darkness falling on these fields
I feel the cold hands of the midwinter night...
...The seventh eclipse is burning
My flesh like the shining sun
Another star of the black heaven is going out"
The album also features a few female vocals, which adds a nice touch to the melodic feeling. Note however, if you are one of those anti-female-vocals type people, you shouldn't be turned off. Because sometimes female vocals bother me as well (especially in death metal), but in Chaotic Beauty, EToS made an astounding work of making the female vocals sound very natural. As a matter of fact, the word "natural" practically describes this entire album: the songs just all sound natural. Not only as each song independently, but as a whole there are no fillers and no dramatic change in a single track.
Overall, the album creates an atmosphere that is seen in variations through each song, and if you enjoy any type of metal, you will most likely enjoy this album. And don't think that this is just another melodic death metal band, because you are WRONG. These guys actually perfected this subgenre (or whatever its called).
My favorite tracks: Pretty much all.
This album actually manages to impress, despite not being overly original. Melodic death metal with touches of black thrown in for good measure is what’s on the cards here, with the odd 80´s metal influence here and there. The band are certainly not afraid of using their capability of writing memorable melodies, several of their songs are chorus-heavy and catchy. Synths and piano are used rather frequently, but for the most part they’re not allowed to outnumber the guitars, whose main objective is carving out leads rather than laying out traditional riffs. A female voice is also present, but fails to be impressive, and loses your attention rather fast.
As for the rather light-weight screech of the male vocalist, it comes of as acceptable, but nothing more. The attention-grabbing features on this album are the high quality songs and arrangements; they seem to have spent a lot of time on getting all aspects of them to really shine. Especially “Blood of Faith Stains My Hands” and “Autumn’s Grief” offer fantastic listening.
The production is good, but not astounding; all instruments are clearly audible even in the faster sections, and the sound focuses more on lifting the accessible parts of the material to the forefront and leaving a thicker and more brutal sound for others to pursue. This is all well and good, and fits the band nicely.
Finally, I should mention their cover of “Black Tears” by Edge of Sanity. It’s a great song, but it is not improved here, as the original version pretty much has it all, and it’s not really all that many years ago it was first released.