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Strictly middle tier.... - 60%

krozza, March 11th, 2005

Recognise the artist of this album cover? Granted, only the metal cover art aficionados will be interested, but nevertheless the name Geoffrey Gillespie should invoke some sort of recognition from the die-hard trad metal fan. Gillespie was the man responsible for most of those classic late 80’s Warlock and Doro albums. If anything, his work has always screamed ‘MEETTAALLL’ to me, and for French power metallers Eternal Flight the feeling is no different. Visually, at least, EF has done well. As for the rest….well…

Coming out of France, Eternal Flight is actually some sort of rebirth of a band called Dream Child, which was fronted by current EF vocalist ‘Gerard Fois’. Dream Child actually released two albums in the late 90’s (the last ‘Reaching the Golden Gates on Metal Blade) before things went kaput. Taking the EF moniker from a Dream Child song, EF are now a fully functioning band and ‘Positive Rage’ is the first of a new contract signed with fledgling Italian label (home to the mighty Slough Feg and Pharaoh) Cruz Del Sur Music.

I must admit that my initial impressions of ‘Positive Rage’ were not too gracious. Over time and after several repeated listens, I can say that it has grown on me, however it still has a somewhat awkward quality about it that I’ll never fully embrace. EF plays rather standard fare melodic power metal. The songwriting suggests as much. No surprises here folks. No adventure (other than some slight progressive elements), no real risk taking or revelations in what is a rather safe style. The label PR has worked overtime in trying to pass EF off as some sort of missing link between Nevermore and Savatage meets Dream Theater – and while I can hear elements of each in EF’s music, they are far from reaching the heights established by the aforementioned metal peers.

Without any doubt, the production (Luigi Stefanini @ New Sin) and overall presentation of this album is top notch. Like a lot of middle tier power metal acts, they’re extremely good at what they do. But their musically dexterity also becomes somewhat of an albatross around the neck when for 95% of the time, EF refuse to do anything remotely challenging or original. The fact that Fois is a somewhat annoying vocalist doesn’t help matters either. His style is built on all of the main essential players of the genre, but lacks their character and power. Having digested all of this, ‘Positive Rage’ exists solely as a competent, entertaining, but hardly ‘essential’ power metal album. If you’ve just got to have a new Power Metal album every week, then you’d probably shell out the hard earned for this, but the more discernable fan wouldn’t be so convinced. I’d suggest biding your tame listening to your old favorites or better still hold off for the new Kamelot. Now that will be something to die for!

As a melodic power metal band, Eternal Flight are strictly middle tier. The super production and presentation scores points for the band, but when it comes to the bottom line – I.E ‘The Songs’ – Positive Rage is sadly lacking in anything truly compelling or worth revisiting time and again.

Krozza: www.pyromusic.net and www.wallsoffire.de