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Album Reviews : The Eternal – Waiting For The Endless Dawn

By on August 7, 2018

It may be difficult for some to believe, but this is this Melbourne act’s sixth full-length album. Everything they’ve put out into the world has been world class, each record has been a completely unique statement within their illustrious catalogue, whilst still maintaining a clear connection with their core sound. Why they are not one of the better-known acts on the Aussie and indeed the worldwide heavy music scene is utterly beyond me. It must just be one of those things, one of those anomalies that the music industry seems to perpetuate on an alarmingly regular basis.

Anyway, that’s more than enough lamenting the underrated nature of The Eternal, let us join in celebrating the wonder that is their brand new record, Waiting For The Endless Dawn. It is truly to be admired, both in a musical and attitudinal sense. By the latter, I mean that it would very easy and tempting for this band, having never truly scaled the heights of commercial success that they deserve, to start attempting to write three to four minute catchy, potentially commercially viable tunes that the radio might actually play. But no, not these guys. On this record, it’s like they have said to themselves ‘okay, so we can go down the commercial rock path, or we can choose the exact night and day 180 degree opposite of that. Let’s choose the latter!’

Yes, they have chosen the path of most resistance. And a) they are to be truly admired and respected for that, and b) the album is so much better for it.

For starters, there are ‘only’ seven tunes on this record, however, the album’s running time is up over the 75-minute mark, so that’s well over ten minutes per song. Of course, having long songs for the sake of having long songs is nonsense, the songs must still have much to say, musically, lyrically and imagery-wise. And the songs on this record are veritably bursting at the seams with character, meaning, dynamics and interest. Each track is an epic journey into dark, doomy, melancholy but compelling soundscapes. This record achieves that often difficult concept, the ability to be sombre and uplifting at the same time, and achieves it with great aplomb.

There is one exception to this, however, and it is a massive and pleasant surprise. I am an unabashed fan of classic Aussie pop/rock band Icehouse, and ‘Don’t Believe Any More’ is my all-time favourite Icehouse track, so its appearance here is just a beautiful thing. The only mild disappointment with the track, and indeed probably the entire album, is that the explosive sax parts of the original track are performed on lead guitar here. It would have been great to have heard a sax in this setting, however overall it is a fabulous take on an Aussie rock classic.

From the long, Floydian instrumental intro of opener The Wound, through to the sad, ambient spoken word title track that rounds out the album, Waiting For The Endless Dawn is a mighty statement from a band at the top of its game. The main man Mark Kelson is in fine fettle here. His guitar playing, moody vocal stylings and old-school sounding production style hit the target repeatedly, and the band around him respond in kind, with passion and precision. The appearance of superb Dreadnaught guitar player Richie Poate as a permanent member of this band is extremely easy to take.

On top of this, there are some rather consequential guest spots happening here. Locals Erica Kennedy and Emily Saaen, on violin and guest vocals respectively, make a great impact on the record and Finnish dirty vocalist Mikko Kotamäki gives In the Lilac Dust a real early-mid career Opeth sound and feel.

This album is quite magnificent. For some it may be a little much to take in in one hit, some may find it a little overwhelming, but be patient and persist with it, for the rewards are glorious.

Band: The Eternal
Album: Waiting for Endless Dawn
Year: 2018
Genre: Doom Rock/Metal
Label: Inverse Records
Origin: Australia

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.