Eldritch – Gaia’s Legacy
My first exposure to Italy’s Eldritch was with 2004’s “Portrait Of The Abyss Within”, which I rather enjoyed. Since then, I’d more or else settled on them as a relatively inconsistent band when it came to my tastes. I heard all of the clucking about “Gaia’s Legacy” as the release date approached, and then not much afterwards. Finally able to properly examine this new effort for myself, I find it to be somewhat difficult to review due to its contents.
When I said that I found Eldritch to be inconsistent, I meant both lyrically and musically. Their lyrics have never been that great (and sometimes fairly dumb, as on “Blackenday”), but I’ve come to them occasionally for their fairly contemplative, sometimes melancholic take on society and struggle. While this latest album does indeed deal with society and the planet, it’s rather different. Namely: this is not the occasional, reasonably well-penned tune about the state of the world, but an all out pessimistic assault on one’s environmental awareness. Now sure, this ought to get some people to wake up, since even if you don’t necessarily agree with what Eldritch (and their inspirator Al Gore) are saying, you have to admit that humanity as a whole is collectively stupid and wasteful when it comes to environmental awareness. But I’m not here to preach at you, as Eldritch will sure as heck do more than enough of that. No, I get awfully sick of hearing “CFC Gasses!”, “Global Warming!”, and “Fossil Fuels!” shouted at me over and over again. I personally feel that this whole bit should have been saved for the protests and social activism, since it just annoys me, a vocally green-minded individual. Especially since there’s no subtlety, no veil over their words. No, Eldritch are sure to put it into words that a four-year-old could understand. “We need to help our mother earth!”
I get it, the second track was enough.
BUT, (and I need that in all caps) in spite of their clumsy and irritating tree-hugging, this album is quite consistent musically. In fact, I think I can say that it’s my favorite Eldritch release to date in term of composition, technicality, and vocal performance. The guitar lines here are tempestuous and churning, with just the right amount of hardcore proggy riffs thrown in for good effect. Opener “Deviation”, along with “Everything’s Burning” prove exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve never had such a consistently interesting musical offering from this band, and there are some parts that I absolutely love, although the album gets thinner as it goes on. Were it for the music alone, I could play this even more regularly than PotAW…
But those lyrics! I am unable, like many people, to completely blank out what’s being sung at me. Therefore, this album takes me from head banging to rolling my eyes again and again. It’s almost like Alestorm syndrome, the band sings about the same thing in the same way for so long that there’s only so much appreciation that can be gleaned for it. In spite of this, I imagine myself returning here occasionally. Those who really appreciate environmentalism in their metal will enjoy this album immensely, especially if you follow it up with a healthy love of reasonably good power/prog. While I have the latter, I can’t grip the former. Maybe next time Eldritch will really deliver something that I can sink my teeth into without getting splinters.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0 out of 5