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Album Reviews : The Eternal – Under a New Sun

By on February 3, 2011

The Eternal have never been afraid to change their sound from one album to the next. Starting off live as an innocent gothic doom metal band, they transformed themselves on their previous release, Kartika, as the music sped up and became more complex.

With the release of their new album, Under a New Sun, The Eternal have shed their old skin, and we are left looking at an entirely new creature. Under the guidance of producer Jeff Martin of the The Tea Party fame, the band have transformed themselves into a rock’n’roll band with a penchant for face shredding solos and a raw, heavy feel.

Control, the album’s opener, is less a song than a statement of intent. It’s heavy, it’s fast, and while it may not really go anywhere, it has something that The Eternal have never had before: it is fucking cool.

The second and self titled track is all wailing guitars and distorted guitars, with Mark Kelson singing like he’s got a pair – and he’s not afraid to use them. It’s quite a transformation from the old days of the band, where Kelson’s great hooks were buried under a slow drum beat and a hollow production.

Delirium and Desire gives us our first taste of Mr Martin on backing vocals, and is basically a wet ballad, but the guitar solo midway through will leave you sweating and holding your ‘O’ face. Nothing Remains and Eclipse again demonstrate Kelson’s able control of the hook, but then things get turned upside down for The Sleeper.

It’s a duet between Kelson and Martin, and while it is a pretty good ballad, especially if you like your male vocals to be deep, powerful, and sung by Jeff Martin, I can’t help feeling it’s a Tea Party song. Not that that should be surprising given who produced the album and the influence that the Tea Party have been on the band.

Luckily, they make amends up next. A Thousand Shades of You is an unpredictable song. It starts out heavy as hell, before quietening down, where you will be disturbed by the wailing in the background. And then there’s the chorus. The reason why you will listen to this album. It’s typical of the Eternal: simple, beautiful, and with Martin’s backing vocals again, almost perfect. And it all works so well together, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there’s a solo so hot it’ll melt your skin and then mix it with flour to bake it into a cake.

Collapse follows, and where A Thousand Shades surprises you, this song is just so straightforward and rocky it makes you think it must have written itself. The use of effects is a bit confronting at the beginning of the song, but once it passes, you are left absorbed by this great rock song.

Cast in Stone, the second to last track on the album, appeared firstly as a remix on the Under a New Sun single. Having heard that version, I had low expectations for the album version. Thankfully, with the guitars added in, it presents itself as another highlight of the album. As heavy as hell at the start, you can’t help but bang your head, before the keyboards add a mystical quality to the verses. The chorus hits, and once again you’re left happy. The album finishes with a song that would be more fitting to the end of an eighties prog rock band. It’s easy listening, and helps lull you back to reality.

This is a genuinely enjoyable album from start to finish. The great pop sensibilities of the band have crossed over easily into the rock genre, and has benefitted from a fuller, faster and more raw sound. Under a New Sun was a leap into the unknown for the Eternal, and it’s paid off.

Band: The Eternal
Album: Under a new Sun
Year: 2011
Genre: Rock
Origin: Australia
http://www.myspace.com/theeternalband

Tracklisting:
01. Control
02. Under A New Sun
03. Delirium & Desire
04. Nothing Remains Without Us
05. Eclipse
06. The Sleeper [feat. Jeff Martin]
07. A Thousand Shades Of You
08. Collapse
09. Despondency
10. Cast In Stone
11. Departure

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.