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Wasted Potential - 70%

lonerider, November 24th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Metal Blade Records

Rather than reciting facts about Canadian metallers Eidolon that are taken right from their entry here on the Archives, we might as well cut straight to the chase. On Coma Nation, Eidolon adhere to the North American brand of power metal and infuse it with a heavy dose of thrash, particularly in regards to the guitar play and overall aggressive nature of most of the songs. The riffing delivered by Glen Drover is downright spectacular and the guitars, endowed with one of the crunchiest, most badass tones you will ever hear, are right at the forefront of the mix. Anyone who listens to metal primarily for the purpose of being blown away by nasty riffs and a massive wall of guitars should absolutely love Coma Nation. However, those who also appreciate refined and diverse songwriting as well as a knack for catchy hooks and leads will be left wanting for more.

The album kicks off with the truly ferocious title track, a fast-paced orgy of violence that’s actually more thrash metal than anything else. It’s a bold statement that Eidolon are here to rip your face off with an unrelenting barrage of blistering riffs and pummeling drums played with great precision and heavy use of the double-bass pedal. Unfortunately, it is not exactly a harbinger of things to come, as no other song on Coma Nation reaches the same level of intensity and reckless velocity. In fact, the only other track that could be characterized as predominantly fast-paced is “A Day of Infamy”. The rest do have faster passages here and there, but are mostly mid-paced and even feature some slow, plodding sections as well as the occasional acoustic guitar interlude (e. g. on “The Pentacle Star”).

There certainly is some variety here, which makes it all the more perplexing that about half an hour into the proceedings, things start to drag and grow somewhat stale. Then again, there are other highlights beside the title track, namely the almost twenty-minute long closer “Within the Gates” – even though it lacks a coherent structure and will lose your attention during some of its less compelling moments –, as well as “Life in Agony” and “Scarred”. The last two are unexpectedly melodic, each conveying a rather doleful mood and boasting a surprisingly catchy chorus. What’s odd though is that the band decided to place them in back-to-back positions. Considering they sound eerily similar to each other, it would have benefited the running order to save one of them for later.

Truth be told, some of the other cuts, such as “Lost Voyage”, “Hunt You Down” and “From Below”, seem rather gratuitous. They all follow the same basic formula of pounding, aggressive, riff-driven power metal that’s high on technical proficiency and testosterone yet short on truly memorable moments. Moreover, both “Hunt You Down” and “From Below” fade out with elongated segments of repetitive stop-and-go riffing that wouldn’t feel out of place on a 1990s Pantera record. On Coma Nation, however, these are quite pointless and pretty annoying.

It’s hard to pinpoint why this album, in spite of all its tasty ingredients, ends up a much more insipid stew than it actually should. Aside from the obvious lack of catchiness and truly ingenious moments, it might have something to do with singer Pat Mulock’s vocal delivery. It’s not that the guy can’t sing; in fact, you won’t find much fault with his performance from a technical standpoint. His aggressive mid-range pitch certainly fits the music, he occasionally does some nice melodic singing and even throws in a couple of growls as well (namely on “Within the Gates”). Even so, he fails to really make his mark on Coma Nation as his vocal delivery is just a little too monotonous, his vocal lines lack imagination and his range is rather limited.

In the end, Eidolon’s most potent asset is definitely the sizzling guitar work courtesy of Glen Drover, but even that is not enough to mask the various flaws of this recording, particularly in the songwriting department. Save for a few exceptions, the songs tend to just fade into each other, making it hard for the listener to immediately discern which one is currently playing. Ultimately, Coma Nation is the epitome of decent – a nice, decent album which, while you might put it on every once in a while, will neither leave a lasting impression nor will it capitalize on the considerable instrumental prowess of the musicians involved. Inspired songwriting and passionate delivery always trumps technical mastery. Whereas Coma Nation delivers the latter in spades, the former is in short supply on an album that has too much of a by-the-numbers feel to make you forget its shortcomings.

Choicest cuts: Coma Nation, Life in Agony, A Day of Infamy, Within the Gates

Rating: 7.0 out of 10 points

Quite awake, on the contrary... - 83%

Empyreal, December 8th, 2009

Eidolon has put out a lot of albums, but nobody seems to ever talk about them. Why? What could they possibly have done to incite such a veritable invisibility? I see no reason why they shouldn’t be known for albums as flat-out enjoyable as Coma Nation.

These guys play a heavy, fast style of Power Metal with a huge dose of kinetic, Earth-shaking riffs that are positively addicting once you get past the initial sameness of the compositions. At first this album will probably seem a little bland, as the production is a bit dry and the vocals are as reedy and limited as they come, but really, this is just classic Power Metal brought up to modern speed, owing heavily to everyone from Iron Maiden to Running Wild. No one influence dominates under the almost futuristic style of the atmosphere at hand, and that’s another thing that’s cool about this – it’s like a soundtrack to being hunted down by the Predator, or some other kind of bounty hunter. The riffs have this mighty, confident groove to them that just scream war and combat of a mechanical kind. Truly, it becomes addictive, once the listener allows its bladed teeth to sink in.

So, yeah, the main draw here is just the kick-ass riffing and leads. It’s like if you distilled everything from Angel Dust except their guitar parts and then formed a new band around them. I have not heard any other Eidolon material before this, but they have obviously mastered their riff-craft to a fine, polished sheen. These riffs are crunchy, speedy and addictive as crack cocaine. They gallop along with a hungry, metallic bite and ensnare all who cross their path. All of the songs are good, really; naming standouts is pretty futile. The title track is ball-busting good, with a catchy chorus to match the riffs, and then later on we get the ass-kicking “Hunt You Down,” the epic “Pentacle Star” and the mean, stomping “From Beyond.”

The real point of interest is the whopping 18 minute monster riff-festival “Within the Gates.” This song is just insane, as literally all 18 minutes are comprised of the smoking riffs and ghostly leads that we have come to know the band for over the course of the album. There are a lot of time changes and different riffs that add to the epic atmosphere, and it makes the rest of the album look like a fucking appetizer in comparison. The songwriting on this is just superb, and this one song is proof of that – just the fact that they wrote a song like this and maintained interest for the entire thing is incredible.

This isn’t perfect, as the vocals are notably weak, without much range or character to them, but he does an alright job for what it is. He could be a lot worse, and you do get used to him with multiple listens. Overall, though, Eidolon delivers a strong, viable album of riffy, energetic and well-written metal music with Coma Nation, and you should wake up and go listen to this fucker if this is your kind of music.

Originally written for

More speed again, and with new singer. - 85%

Nightrunner, May 27th, 2006

Eidolon took a more slower and heavier direction with “Hallowed Apparation”, which in my opinion worked just fine, and classes “HA” as maybe the best Eidolon-album. With this album they got back on track with a speedier direction, and with a new singer in form of Pat Mulock. Which is as monotonous as Brian (former vocalist) was, though he’s even lousier than Brian. The production of this album is probably the “rawest” one that Eidolon has come up with, although maybe not as heavy as “Nightmare World”’s production.

As I said Shawn (drummer) has written faster songs than last time, this can be heard clearly in the thrashy 2-tact titletrack “Coma Nation” (a splendid song). Other songs that diverses most from the other is the heavy mid-tempo song “Lost Voyage” (could easily been on “Hallowed Apparition”-album). Also “From Below” with it’s eering intro-passage, and the heaviness that follows. All other songs that I haven’t mentioned is mostly songs that goes in double bass (shifting from slower-to-faster), but without sounding too much like each other, of course, Pat’s boring vocals does make them all sounds a bit alike. But the ending song, the 18 (!) minutes long “Within The Gates”, it’s cool that they do something like this.. this one maybe requires some listens, just gets better and better with time, and is a real killer song. And has many different parts, so it doesn’t “go in circles” for 18 minutes, if that’s what you thought ;) This song is possible the best song of the album, in my opinion.

For the lyrical part, Shawn has written some really cool lyrics this time too, I like his kind of “screwed and wicked” lyrics. Everyone feels like telling a story, and this is appreciated in my eyes and brain. In conclusion: if you haven’t got yourself “Coma Nation” yet, then it’s about damn time. You’ll won’t regret it, you will just bang your head and say “what a good album I just bought”.

3 best songs: Coma Nation, Lost Voyage, Within The Gates

The riffs prevail! - 90%

Crimsonblood, October 16th, 2002

Armed with a new vocalist, Eidolon has unleashed Coma Nation, but nothing has really changed from the last couple of offerings; they still play Thrashy Power Metal. When I say Power Metal, please don’t think symphonic keys and tales about fairyland. This is hard hitting, crushing, and neck breaking Power Metal folks, plain and simple.

The riffs are very heavy, not to mention choppy (in typical Thrash fashion) at times. The tone is dirty, feeling more akin to, once again, Thrash Metal. So why is this not considered pure Thrash Metal then? For one, Eidolon does use a decent amount of melody, both in the guitars and especially the vocals. Much like the former vocalist, Pat Mulock brings a highly melodic and somewhat high singing voice to the mix. Likewise, the way the songs are structured is very similar to US Power Metal. Instead, you could almost say that Eidolon have a bit of an epic feel, due in part to progressive song writing elements, riff changes, and soaring vocals that also create a unique feel. There is more than one song on Coma Nation that clocks in at over 6 minutes, including the monster closing track, “Within The Gates” which is 18:46 of epic and devastating Metal. Eidolon also change things up quite a bit, providing us with speedy neck breakers in the form of the title track and “A Day Of Infamy”, which is full of double bass, and then the mid-paced to fast riff heavy tracks, such as “Life In Agony” and “Scarred” also show up in abundance. Almost all songs do have fast sections, but Eidolon now tend to focus more on build up and mid-paced riffs turned into fast, choppy runs- a contrast to the overall speedier feel of past releases. Like I said, Eidolon really haven’t slowed down, they just place their faster sections, in general, more sparingly, but nevertheless equally as successfully.

Production wise, things worked out very well. The tone and of the guitars is excellent, with the bass and drums being at a nice volume- the bass drums are especially powerful. One very minor complaint, however, is the snare drum tends to blend in a little too much with the bass drum, but once the riffs take control you’re too busy head banging to notice. The new vocalist is quite successful, but to be honest there isn’t that much of a difference from the last one. While his singing style works well, I would like to perhaps hear some more rough sounding sections, not necessarily a death growl, maybe something like what Matt Barlow from Iced Earth occasionally uses. I think it would fit well with the more raw sound of the band. On the final track “Within The Gates” we do hear some Death growls and in my opinion they are very successful! Furthermore, I enjoyed the acoustic sections, especially on “The Pentacle Star”, and this feature coupled with some other factors (mostly song writing style and vocal melodies) also reminds me of the latest offering from Destiny’s End. The guitar work is also very impressive, which goes without saying.

Overall I was pleased with Coma Nation. I had very high expectations for this CD, and while the band didn’t quite reach them, they came very close. In fact, after the first couple of songs I was ready to come to the conclusion that while Coma Nation would be a quality listen, they would leave me somewhat disappointed based from their Nightmare World release specifically. But with that said, once the rest of the disc was spun, my opinion quickly changed as things really start picking up the further you get into the track listing. The brilliance and talent of this band is undeniable, but you know what, I think they can do even better, perhaps with their next release they will become the band that I believe they can become. So with that being said, Coma Nation’s combination of crushing guitars, progressive qualities, melodic vocals, unique lyrics and atmosphere should please all but the most finicky Power Metal fans.

Song highlights: Coma Nation, Life Of Agony, A Day Of Infamy, Hunt You Down, From Below, and Within The Gates