Release DetailsLABEL Cruz Del Sur Music
RELEASED ON 10/1/2006
posted on 12/2006 By:
It’s nice to have the chance to get back to some metal. Just metal. No core, no blast, squeal, drone or roar. Only pure, no-bullshit metal. Vancouver’s Antiquus has enabled this to happen for me, refreshing the ear with a time honored traditional thrash/power metal sound. As much as I recognize and respect the effort and patience that went into the creation of Eleutheria, this Iron Maiden-esque conceptual piece really isn’t sitting too well for some reason. Something feels just slightly off.
The first thing that stands out to me is vocalist Jesse White. Sometimes his ambition fractionally overtakes his actual ability, testing his note span from start to finish. It doesn’t sound like Jesse has a naturally melodic voice, and relies more on force than technique, which really shows when he starts singing in softer registers. He’s adequate, his voice suits the music, but the dude is all over the place, and sometimes a little difficult to listen to.
Musically, Antiquus’ thrashy sort of traditional metal avoids sounding musically dated, and Eleutheria is a clever album in its structural design at times. For instance, the galloping opening riff of "O Captain, My Captain" is repeated with different embellishments during the intro to sixth track “Leaves Of Grass”. Normally a major metal no-no, the revisiting of this riff actually succeeds in creating a self-enclosed vibe, enhancing the conceptualism. Unfortunately, this is one of the rare instances where the album actually shows any sort of gripping cohesion, because the rest of the disc, while admirably played, is almost completely unmemorable. The riffs have no sustainable bite or hook, the melodies are nondescript, yet simultaneously overworked, and it just seems like there’s a lot going on without attempting to make anything stand out.
To claim this is messy garbage is wildly inaccurate, however, because this album isn’t a mess. Quite the opposite, it’s just sort of ‘there’. “Mechanismo” is an example of how it feels like the band is merely playing the music without putting any sort of real fire behind it, even as a mellow track, there’s no feeling to it. It might be forgivable if the songs were technically impressive, or featured captivating songwriting, but neither aspect is present. The music is not enthralling, but instead comes across as overly dramatic and corny. The ending ballad “KT Event” closes events on a simply bland note, as if the guys ran out of ideas and just wanted to finish the album.
Antiquus tried to make an epic, but instead just managed to construct an album full of only moderately spirited filler. Even the hyperactive leads are bland in a way. I take no pleasure in writing any of this, but Eleutheria is not a fine example of the genre, instead feeling more like a basic blueprint with no flavor or color. It is just good, not great, but not entirely bad either. Purists for the genre will surely orgasm over this, but they’d probably also orgasm over Hammerfall like any other fanboys for the style. This just didn’t do it for me, but it would be ideal for those who spend all their spare time assembling miniature model ships in glass bottles. If that’s you, have at it.
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