Prophetic marks the debut album from Australian death metal band, Eternal Rest. The young band has crafted a solid, confident album that smacks of potential for a bright future ahead. The band plays with unyielding passion and intensity over the album’s concise duration, displaying their accomplished instrumental chops and growing stature as song-writers. Yet for all their abundance of talent and passion for their craft, Eternal Rest are clearly a band with room for improvement in both the song-writing department and in sculpting their own unique identity within death metal’s crowded landscape. They have the technical aspects down pat, as the musicianship is uniformly strong, yet the band need to incorporate a catchier, more memorable element to their song-writing to demand the listeners’ attention and create greater replay value.
Featuring a clean, stout production from Psycroptic’s Joe Haley, Prophetic’s sonic palette reeks of professionalism to match their energetic brand of modern death metal, featuring nods to the past and present. The middle-eastern flavours punctuating the album bring Nile to mind, and although the death metal titans are clearly one of Eternal Rest’s stronger influences, they don’t sound like half-assed clones either. The technical aspects of their musicianship are more understated than Nile’s techy whirlwind of brutality, and Eternal Rest seeks a more song-based approach, rather than focusing too much on atmospherics and all-out brutality. Yet in the end I’m undecided about what to make of the middle-eastern elements that are embedded into the album. They certainly represent an interesting vibe and dynamic, yet when the band cut to the chase and get down to blasting, high energy death metal they sound all the more frantic and exciting. If they continue integrating these influences deeper into their roots it may be a sound worth pursuing, otherwise they might be better served sticking to a more pure, straight-to-the-point brand of modern death metal. Either way it’s an aspect of the album that I remain conflicted about. And there are definitely examples where the combination has an effective impact, yet how well it works will likely boil down to personal preference.
The delicate notes of instrumental “First Gate (Isten Baba)” begins the album with the aforementioned middle-eastern flavours brought forth in acoustic form, before it gradually builds to a percussive heavy climax that knits it to the explosive “Preaching the Decimation of Spheres”. This track is one of the better examples of the middle-eastern influences working well for the band, creating eerie shreds of melody and atmosphere amidst some extremely tight blasting and intricate riffing. Mick Hunter’s explosively energetic drumming shines through the song’s strong dynamics, while vocalist Josh Robinson makes a hefty impression in balancing thick growls with a slightly higher-ranged blackened pitch. The interesting guitar lines and steady gallop of “Onset of Destruction” and malevolent riffing and frantic pacing of “Remnants” are a couple of other shining examples of the band firing on all cylinders. Hunter’s ultra-tight drumming performance in particular shines throughout the album. He plays with high-octane energy and litters the album with some wonderful bursts of creativity through his intricate drum patterns and imaginative fills.
With their debut, Eternal Rest have planted seeds of great potential, which allowed to grow could yield something truly unique and essential down the track. As it stands, Prophetic is a rock solid yet slightly unremarkable death metal album that is nevertheless worth a listen, despite being potentially lost amongst the slew of quality, higher profile death metal releases in 2013.[Visit the band's website]