ECHOES OF ETERNITY
"The Forgotten Goddess"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Burning with Life
02. Expressions of Flesh
03. Voices in a Dream
04. Towers of Silence
05. The Forgotten Goddess
06. The Kingdom Within
07. Circles in Stone
08. Garden of the Gods
09. Lost Beneath a Silent Sky
10. Adrift

RATING: 7/10

The story behind the formation of Los Angeles' ECHOES OF ETERNITY is an interesting one. Conceptualist/guitarist/songwriter Brandon S. Patton enlisted the assistance of musicians residing in Canada, Texas, South Carolina, and Japan to record debut album "The Forgotten Goddess", despite geographical separation. His idea was to combine extreme metal with melodic female vocals, which is essentially what he succeeded at doing with "The Forgotten Goddess". Canadian Francine Boucher plays the role of siren and her band mates dish out an intelligently structured thrash and death-based delivery that emphasizes heaviness and intricacy. The end result takes a little getting used to, but ultimately works quite well.

The arrangements themselves are a guitar lover's dream, as the riffs are mighty tough and marginally progressive. The solos rip and inspire as well. It is obvious that Patton put a lot of thought into the arrangements and was not going for a goth-flavored approach, but instead just what he planned from the beginning: heavy music with flowing female vocals. Which brings us to Boucher's work. She's got an angelic voice that soars as high as the heavens, it's as simple as that. Stated differently, she could step right into any number of female-fronted bands on the Napalm Records roster and nary a beat would be missed. Playing live would seem to present more of a challenge, as a lot of the vocal parts were clearly multi-tracked.

So how does the combination work? For the most part, it works well, and several songs do sport sweet melodies, the title track in particular. However, before I even knew about the facts pertaining to geographical distance, I found there to be a slight disconnection between the instrumentation and Boucher's vocals. Though few bands record without having the musicians perform their parts separately, "The Forgotten Goddess" actually sounds like there is separation between guitar/bass/drums and vocals. But who knows, it could just be me, and it's a very minor point anyway, so take it with a grain of salt. In short, "The Forgotten Goddess" is a nicely done album that should serve as a welcome break from more traditional extreme metal fare.

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