If we were to label ETERNAL GRAY's Kindless the Master Of Puppets of modern-day death metal, you'd suspect we were talking from the wrong orifice. And whilst on the surface it may appear to be wildly off-the-mark comparing one of the most epic and invigorating thrash albums of the eighties with a debut slab from a bunch of raw, young hopefuls, we'd at least like to think that, while far from the finished article, ETERNAL GRAY were heading in the right direction.
They hail from Israel, a place renowned more for an incendiary political climate than a tidal wave of incendiary death metal bands. But rather than allow them to while away their days preaching to the converted in their home state, the cultured ears of France-based Listenable Records have latched on to the quartet's progressive promise, then used their considerable clout to drag the band over to Peter Tägtgren's Abyss studio in Sweden for a barnstorming recording session. It's an opportunity that most Israeli bands would gladly lop off their collective extremities for — and one that the resourceful youngsters have grasped firmly with both hands.
Both producer Tägtgren himself (who, incidentally, has twiddled the knobs with his usual authority) and DESTRUCTION guitarist/vocalist Schmier (for some reason) provide backing vocals somewhere along the line. Unless you have the ears of a bat though, it's hard to make out where they crop up. Which is a good thing considering that the gratuitous guest appearance "thing" might overshadow what is a promising piece of work under its own steam.
As with that Master of Puppets comparison, perhaps to simply categorize Kindless as death metal is also a misnomer. While opener "Sins In The Process Of Creation" spins out one brazen Leprosy-esque death riff, there are just as many off-kilter power metal references being weaved within. And from there on inwards, it just gets more and more willfully unrestricted, with probing guitar harmonies aplenty ("War Of Chaos"), wailing discords ("Inflicting Pain") and an ominous militaristic outro to leave you hanging for the next opus. Whether you do or not depends if the band can sharpen up some of their more meandering moments. But for now, Kindless rocks hard enough to shake down Jerusalem's Wailing Wall to the very foundations.