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As some may have noticed from my old review, I once adored this album. I used to listen to it at least once a day, and many days I would solely listen to this band. However, I eventually expanded my horizons by searching for different kinds of metal, and this album became long forgotten. Over time, as my playlists changed, I began to grow distaste for this album as well as its kind. Several years of indulging in the vastness of metal led my hatred for Chaotic Beauty (and its subgenre of melodic death metal) to boil to a level of repugnance which I have never shown to any other sort of music with the exception of mainstream pop. Thus, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best for me to write a completely new review since my opinion of this album has changed so radically.
…And so I was forced to listen to this album again for the sake of this review. Luckily, it was the last time I’ll have to force myself to listen to such music, for I intend this to be an all-encompassing review of the subgenre of melodic death metal. The reason for this will be clear later on, so I will get on with the music now.
Eternal Tears of Sorrow is no more than another generic melodic death metal band repeating what’s already been criminally overdone. Accordingly, this raises a troublesome question as to why I—or anyone else for that matter—would choose this band over any other melodeath clone. Why Eternal Tears of Sorrow? For one, the songs in Chaotic Beauty are filled with riffs that are mind-numbingly simple and implemented in inane song structures, no more or no less banal than their contemporaries such as Kalmah or Norther. On top of that, they bring nothing new to the table such as additional, unconventional instruments, or a unique vocal technique, and so on and so forth. As a result, I’ve decided it is best that we dissect the music and investigate each component of the music, with hopes of digging deep enough to find our answer.
Thus comes the first item on the list, the drums. On my final play-through of the album, it seemed like the band added the drums just for the sake of them being there (however, I like to think that they were added to obscure the horrific acts its accompanying instruments commit). I don’t recall hearing a single interesting fill, and along with rare tempo changes, the drums accomplish little more than repeating a few basic rhythms and blast beats throughout the near-forty minutes. I know that the band used programmed drums in previous efforts, and after listening to this album, I’m now questioning their decision of switching to an actual drummer. Ultimately, we can conclude that the drums do not contribute to the reasons to listen to this album and/or band.
The next item on the list is the guitars, which I will briefly describe. They go in and out of the audible range with cringe-inducing riffs and licks when you can actually hear them, but they’re mostly there to be led by the synths. Oh, and it’s a good thing I mention the synths, because this review wouldn’t be complete without them. The synths… they’re everywhere, and they just won’t go away. I guess it was one additional approach the band discovered to cover the blatant, half-assed effort of this record. Ironically, little did they know that the synths would play the primary role in leading this album to its demise. Hackneyed and uninspired, the melodies of the keyboards reek through the album like the wretched stench from nearby sewers would to a local neighborhood. They do little in terms of creating an appropriate atmosphere for the music. On the contrary, their presence is a nuisance and they only contradict everything else that’s playing. My attention was particularly caught in “Tar of Chaos,” where the synths sound like fucking Christmas jingle bells. They serve little purpose other than allowing the band to reflect their lack of talent in one extra instrument. This is a very typical feature of many melodic death metal bands, such as the aforementioned ones, where the band has major influences from. Another influence I presume is from melodic black metal, which gave rise to the laughable gremlin vocals, and that’s all I will say about that. Meanwhile, I suppose there is one more purpose of the synths which I initially overlooked: the melodies created by the synths and guitars are very catchy (for the fans of the genre that is), regardless of how much they lack in creativity or how insipid they are. Consequently, I believe these melodies are the main reason for people listening to this music. And it’s perfectly understandable. Catchy hooks with some “sorrowful” lyrics can often touch people emotionally, no matter how regurgitated the melodies are or how shallow the lyrics may be. This is the same with other genres including most euro-power metal, folk music, pop, and the majority of mainstream music. This tactic works on billions of simpletons 16 year olds people in the world, so it’s a successful strategy for a band to use for profiting.
Which leads me to my real problem with modern melodic death metal: it’s nothing more than euro-power metal with poorly performed death metal (or sometimes black metal) vocals and [too] often with a touch of keyboards. It’s only worse that this genre masks itself behind the vocals to pass as death metal for teens these days to pretend they are “brutal,” or “dark,” or whatever the hell is popular these days. For some lucky folk such as myself, melodic death metal aids in the musical journey of the listener as a “gateway” into the more genuine, heavier realms of metal (which isn’t to say that heavier is necessarily better), but for the vast majority of its listeners, it traps them in a perpetual (and in my opinion, hellish) purgatory which in their own delusion appears to be paradise. Looking back on this album, I realize that it has helped me pass through the so-called “gate,” and for that I will still give it a few points. In the end, however, all I can think of when I listen to this album is bile. Thick, dark bile. And for THAT, it receives a meager 15%.