REVIEW: ETERNITY’S END – “The Fire Within”
German guitar virtuoso Christian Muenzner, who played with some of the best technical death metal bands like Necrophagist, Spawn of Possession and Obscura, has now formed his own band ‘Eternity’s End’, and they are ready to release their debut album ‘The Fire Within’. Now, people would assume that this band also plays some form of progressive death metal, but in fact, Eternity’s End is an energetic-sounding neoclassical power metal group. Judging by Muenzner’s incredible work on his current band Alkaloid’s 2015 album ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, it’s safe to say that he has kicked his focal dystonia condition to the curb, and he once again shows his guitar wizardry on ‘The Fire Within’.
Eternity’s End consists of Muenzner, bassist Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Noneuclid, Alkaloid), drummer Hannes Grossmann (Alkaloid, Blotted Science, ex-Obscura, ex-Necrophagist), keyboardist Jimmy Pitts (The Fractured Dimension, Pitts/Minnemann Project, etc.) and vocalist Ian Parry (Elegy). Christian’s previous solo album ‘Beyond the Wall of Sleep’ also featured the same line-up, but being an instrumental record, didn’t feature Parry. This solo album was fraught with powerful, melodious riffs and jaw-dropping guitar solos, courtesy of Muenzner himself, but that line-up seems to have matured into a better-rounded unit with the addition of Parry on vocals.
This new record is conventionally power metal with twists of neoclassical and progressive elements, as intended by Christian. Ian Parry’s clean vocals combine well with the wall of sound created by Jimmy Pitts’ keyboard playing to create a typical power metal vibe. The songs “The Hourglass” and “White Lies” are examples of this harmony, and are also interspersed with straightforward rhythm guitar and metal drumming. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe several of these musicians played on the progressive/technical death metal madness that was Obscura’s ‘Cosmogenesis’ and ‘Omnivium’, Noneuclid’s ‘Metatheosis’, and Alkaloid’s album.
The title track “The Fire Within” features some galloping drums and quick, clean double bass patterns, which gel with the rhythm guitars flawlessly. Hannes Grossmann is an impeccable drummer, and he demonstrates it once again on this album, as he doesn’t overplay and blends seamlessly into the mix. Linus Klausenitzer also finds his groove in the band, and doesn’t adventure up the fingerboard as often as he does in the technical metal bands he’s a part of. Linus and Hannes form arguably one of the most versatile and smart rhythm sections in metal today due to the sheer amount of restraint they show on this album, all while delivering the intensity that upbeat power metal requires.
Jimmy Pitts‘ keyboard solos are as crazy as they come, often keeping up with Muenzner’s shredding; “Moonstruck” has a section that will wow the listener with all the instrumental interplay going on between the guitar and keyboard leads. Christian Muenzner’s riffs are notably less wild than on his solo albums, and this can be attributed to the added vocals. The rhythm guitar playing accommodates Parry’s vocals while finding a voice of its own when there is a break in the singing, like on “Chains of the Earth”. This is quite different from Christian’s solo albums, which had taken the art of delightful, upbeat riffs and neoclassical shred to the next level; some may have qualms about this.
His solos, on the other hand, still maintain that perfect balance between melody and shred –there’s not many guitarists out there who do it like Muenzner. Listen to every track on the record, for they are strewn with harmonies familiar to the power metal genre and also display a masterful understanding of rhythm and neoclassical lead playing. With this album, Eternity’s End will certainly make a grand entry into the power metal world because this record is aesthetically perfect and leaves almost nothing to be desired.