Eternal Helcaraxe
Against All Odds

I had no idea what to expect from the debut from Ireland’s Eternal Helcaraxe. The cover and logo hinted at something Viking or Pagan, the moniker just reminded me of US death metal act Helcaraxe, and the album title was just ‘meh’. And they were from Ireland- with a few exceptions (namely Cruachan, Waylander, Primordial and Altar of Plagues), hardly an elite metal hotspot. However, after a gorgeous acoustic introductory number in “Claim Your Place With the Gods” the album opens proper with an epic gallop of “One Still Stands Here” and I can only think of one band- Primordial.

But that’s not a cart blanche catch all, just a starting point as Eternal Helcaraxe has released a stunning album that takes all of the great things about Primordial (long songs, epic, craggy riffs, melancholic acoustic moments, gaunt sense of national pride) and gives it a a touch of their own character by way of delicate symphonics, more of a 90s black metal back bone and a somber sense of rangy melody and atmosphere that make Against All Odds one of the most alluring and engaging black metal releases of 2012.

After the enthralling real opening track, “Invictus” rumbles with a somber but staunch Celtic march and subsequent canter. The vocals of Thule are a decipherable, witchy rasp though hes often aided by his band mates with a plethora of other growls, understated clean croons and screams. And about 4;10 into the track it takes a gorgeous, melodic tangent with some sumptuous synths complementing the majestic gallop. It’s an absolutely riveting few minutes to end the song. ” We Assist Death” is initially the album’s most direct, virile black metal track relying in militant frosty riffs rather than atmosphere or synths, but the song’s last third is a more doomy, rangy and somber shade.

“Shadow of the Wolf” is the albums shortest, catchiest track with a rousing canter and classically arranged chorus that recalls the likes of mid era Immortal and other 90s black metal. “As the Snow Gathers” takes a little bit to get going and is the albums respectable down turn, but pick with a hypnotic mid song clean vocal segue and glorious symphonic close out. However, the closing duo of “Echoes Through Our Blood” and eleven minute title track more than make the album worthwhile alone. The prior a 6 minute stern war anthem of steady war metal riffage and explosive Celtic tinged black metal before the absolutely sprawling title track shows how good and varied Eternal Helcaraxe is. It contains everything- delicate orchestral intro, tremolo picked melodies, rousing marches, harmonic solo, atmospheric acoustic bridge and subsequent Primordial like explosion of steady, moody, epic riffage.

The production is clean but nor overly so, having a nice organic texture and hues that fits the epic visage the band is going for. And with only being their debut full length, i look forward greatly to future releases from this new jewel of the Emerald isle.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 10th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    definitely need to check this out


  2. Commented by: ETERNAL HELCARAXE (Ireland) “Against All Odds” CD review by www.teethofthedivine.com « abyss records

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