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I find it strange that I am reviewing yet another Impellitteri album, because anybody who knows me and my other reviews is aware that I don't necessarily consider them to be that good of a band. I guess the reason I keep reviewing them is because they have so much potential. Chris is a great shredder, magnificent at times in fact and I always wished that there would be an album that showcased his brilliance in songs that were actually good. Sure "Stand in Line" came close, but that was only half the album that succeeded in that way while the rest of it continued to hammer you in the face with boredom. However, it was when I found this particular album "Eye of the Hurricane" that I found what I was looking for.
Despite featuring the same lineup of "Screaming Symphony", this album is much better then that one. This album contains the most varied songwriting, the most powerful vocal performance from Rob Rock, and the most spectacular guitar work of all the Impellitteri albums. Sure, it's no masterpiece or hallmark of the genre, but it's still pretty darn good. It's also the longest album they did (despite only being about 45 minutes long) with their longest song ("Paradise" at 6 minutes).
The best songs here are probably "Kingdom Fighters", "Bleed in Silence", "Shed Your Blood", and the title track. All are variations on your basic Impellitteri formula. You've got your mid paced chugging riffs, ripping solos, infectious choruses, and pretty straight laced rhythms. What makes these songs stand out is the use of tempo changes, more chordal playing, and much better vocal melodies than usual. Much less dabbling in the hard rock world here as well, instead the band just goes straight for the throat traditional metal style on these tracks. I should also mention that the solos on the last 3 of those I mentioned are some of the best, most absurdly epic shred solos to be found in traditional heavy metal.
In contrast, this album also is one of the only Impellitteri albums to contain not one but two ballads. The track "On and On" is the most laid back this band ever gets, with a nice pretty vocal melody and acoustic guitars. What I like about this song is that it varies up the atmosphere of the album and doesn't sound too terribly cheesy despite the unoriginal lyrics. The other ballad is the 6 minute "Paradise" which in all honesty is just okay. Admittedly it's one of the few flaws on this album that it ends with this song because it's just not as climactic as it should be.
There are also two instrumentals here in the form of "Race into the Light" and "Halloween". Both feature very technical, structured playing from Chris that still has some strong melodic content which more then I can say for a lot of his instrumentals. The latter song in particular is quite good, and the mood of it really fits the title.
To be fair, the album isn't a complete success. Besides what I mentioned before, you also have a few pretty forgettable songs on here. Namely "Everything is You" and the aforementioned "Paradise". Even though "Everything is You" continues the trend of varying up the typical verse-chorus structure like the highlights of the album, it does so in a more sleaze rock fashion that is very repelling to me. But aside from that the album is pretty dynamite when it comes to fun, shred-tacular heavy metal. It keeps your brain thinking more than the rest of their albums, it's got a little bit more depth, and it delivers all the usual goods in better form then ever.
So yeah, if you've ever got the urge for some old school heavy metal glory that doesn't get too convoluted yet also doesn't get too repetitive, check this one out.
Killer metal albums come once in a while and when I mean killer I refer to those like Paintkiller, Black Hand Inn, The Gathering, Imaginations from the Other Side and some others. Those recordings are almost flawless. They display metal at its best.
Chris Impelliteri is nothing but an astonishing guitar player ala Yngwie whose skills lie in the speed and slashing scales he is able to perform, not to mention his excellent composing abilities. And guess who the singer is here: Rob Rock, who possesses one of the most impressive voices among metal community.
With EOTH we get an almost perfect album except for some little things I will detail further. The album opens with the title track and I must say it is an astonishing song, full of power, excellent vocals, strong riffing and a kick ass guitar solo. This is a perfect way to open such metal feast. The structure for Shed your blood and Fuel for the fire are very similar. Race into the Light is the first instrumental and is masterfully accompanied by synthesizers. The scales are directly pulled from classical music. Bleed in silence is another mid tempo song with strong riffing and excellent choruses. By the way, 90% of the album is mid tempo, you don’t get fast paced songs, and the other 10% are instrumentals and ballads. On and On is an acoustic ballad and pretty boring to me. I find Everything is You as the weak point within the album, not that it is bad but it is not at the same level as the previous ones. Halloween is the second instrumental and again we get a good display or virtuosity with keyboards spiced hooks but I like the previous instrumental even more fue to its complexity. and here is where the weakness of the album shows up to me. How come that an outstanding metal piece closes with a ballad? I don’t know about you, maybe I am being too obnoxious but I’d expect either the fastest song or a killer track that would blow you up and this is not the case. Not that the ballad is bad, I mean, it is a power ballad with a strong and fast guitar solo and high tones in the vocals. I would have put it before the end but it was Impelliteri’s choice. I don’t understand why if Chris is a killer guitar player capable of killer heavy metal he had to include ballads. Why can’t they play 10 ripping metal songs just as Running Wild or some others taking out the ballads? I guess I am being too picky.
I’d dare to say too that Crunch (next release) has a better structure but with this they managed to crown themselves as one of the best heavy metal bands around, very underrated thou because of the distribution problems and exposure but if you like powerful heavy metal that will leave you wanting more this is one of those gems you are looking for.