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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Eternal Of Sweden - Heaven's Gate


Eternal of Sweden is a band based in (can you guess from their name?) Yes Sweden.

Heaven's Gate marks the return since their first effort “Chapter I” released in 2012.

This band was relative unknown to me and I was intrigued to hear since their 1st album not only because they play straight ahead heavy metal (as their bio claims) but because I heard a lot of good rumors for their musical quality.

I must say that all the rumors are 100% true. Eternal of Sweden play balls on metal influenced with a slight progressive & symphonic touch. That is mainly to the use of keyboards that bring a more modern edge to their sound. Behind the keys you got a classical influenced band from the likes of Pretty Maids, Nocturnal Rites as the press release states along with traces of Dio (mainly to the singing style) and Tad Morose.

Singer Christer Gärds has a killer voice, his approach has a lot of soul and that really suits the music. Imagine something from Ronnie James Dio to Oliver Hartman. Easily this guy could fit in Tobias Sammet's Avantasia project. Expressive and powerful his voice is huge asset for the band, there are also a few surprises like on the song “Freedom now” (one of the album's highlights) where he sounds really close to Jorn Lande.

Musically the album doesn't have a lot of surprises as it stays true to the classical heavy metal style. Musicianship is in fairly good level and the same goes for the quality of the songs. Production and mixing has been done by no other than the master Peter Tägtgren from Hypocrisy. Guitar & keys dominate the sound but surprisingly the drums are a little in the back maybe necessary to make room for the vocals to breathe.

There are downsides to this album though. The band's constant persistence on creating mid tempo tunes made me wish for a faster side, also the overuse of choir vocals makes a lot of the compositions sound similar. However in cases like in “Ruins” everything sounds spot on!

Thumbs down for the poor album cover and “Angel” that sounded a bit cheesy for my tastes mainly due to the female vocals. Unfortunately the lyrics were not included which is a bit weird, I mean when a label is sending out an EPK for a review including them is a necessity, remember a good song is even better if it has good lyrics.

In conclusion Eternal of Sweden have created a good but not great album but they certainly did make an impression and left good promises for the future.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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