Release DetailsLABEL Cruz Del Sur Music
RELEASED ON 11/30/2004
posted on 11/2004 By:
France’s Eternal Flight offer their mildly aggressive and noticeably thrash-laden take on power metal with the release of Positive Rage, ten songs that claim to be the “missing link between Nevermore, Savatage, Judas Priest, and Dream Theater.” I’m glad I heard the album in full before reading the missing link assertion because with such a largesse list of bands as comparison I think my preconceived image of Eternal Flight would not have completely aligned with their true sound. At varying times EF does warrant comparison with these four bands (probably Nevermore more often than the other three), but i suppose a bit of name-dropping never hurt the publicity.
Eternal Flight plays heavily guitar-driven power metal with musicianship that every so often deserves the label ‘progressive’. The tone is set early on with “The Masks Will Fall”, a speedy number with thrashing guitars and harmoniously sung power vocals that aptly demonstrates their musical ability. The keyboard is well positioned in the recording as a background instrument that adds some extra bulk to the recording, especially during the solo sections and during some of the quieter song introductions. I’m typically a fan of stretching the limits of the keys, especially in power metal where a solo section of just keyboards can add further depth (and cheesiness, if done poorly) to a song; however, the position of the guitar recording above the rest of the instruments in the mix, signals that the keyboards were not meant to take on the role heard in a band such as Angra (or Dream Theater, for that matter), but this seems to work well for Eternal Flight overall.
Positive Rage keeps a steady clip throughout, breaking here and there for a slower ballad (“Secret Place”) or some mellow interludes (see below). In “Secret Place” the guitar takes a backseat while the vocals carry a dramatically sung melody that stands out as one of the more vocally accented sections on Positive Rage. That said, I expected more from the vocals, especially given the Judas Priest comparison. Not caring much for ballads, I could do without “Secret Place”, which at almost six minutes in length tends to wear itself thin, but it’s probably the only track that I did not enjoy in one way or another.
Eternal Flight manages to sneak in some nice, soft interludes, usually at the beginning of songs, which help the flow of the album. These provide the few times when the keyboard takes the lead or at least provides a soft but audibly present backing melody. The guitar work on Positive Rage is tight, fast, and well written but falls just short of reaching that level of talent that necessitates multiple listens to figure out what the hell just happened. The drums are steady and consistent in a way that reminds me of the simple but effective (at times boring) drumming of Sonata Arctica, except that this drummer is willing and able to explore the set at the appropriate time and then slide back into the role of rhythm keeper. My primary complaint about this album, and perhaps about the band itself, is that they never hit that level of intensity and explosiveness that I can tell they are capable of achieving. Nevertheless, there is plenty of interesting and talented work going on across the board.
The recording on Positive Rage is solid throughout with only some minor mixing problems; at times the vocals and drums sit a bit low in the mix while the guitars can be slightly overpowering. Otherwise this is a finely recorded slab of musical tenderloin, and with all tracks except one clocking in at five minutes or more, there’s plenty of roast to go around. If you like your power metal with an extra does of guitar-driven thrash and a steady, somewhat tepid delivery, check out Eternal Flight.
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