Eldritch – Tasting The Tears
Eldritch – Tasting The Tears (2014)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Has Eldritch been around long enough to be considered an “institution” at this point? Certainly not in terms of popularity, but 9 albums and 20+ years of the band’s signature brooding, proggy, thrash-tinged brand of rhythmic power metal stands as a testament to Eldritch’s ferocity and persistence in a nation choked with metal musicians of a largely different style.
Tasting The Tears was, for me, a much-anticipated return from 2011’s Gaia’s Legacy, an album that I’ve grown eventually to enjoy despite its militaristically “green” agenda. I confess that after some of the lyrical mediocrity from that album in particular (and, in my opinion, the decline in overall quality that came with that album and Blackenday), I was beginning to think that the band was perhaps in their twilight. I’m very glad to report that after a few spins of Tasting The Tears, this is not so.
“Inside You” starts things off appropriately heavy, riffy, and purposefully dark in a very familiar and comfortable fashion for Eldritch fans. Where album comparisons are concerned, I think that this collection of songs is most on par with Neighbourhell in terms of feel – uncomplicated, no overarching theme, and no ambitious concepts. While it may not be quite as heavy as the last couple of albums, Tasting The Tears has a creeping melancholy to it that gives it a special sort of appeal – and at times reminds me of a side of the band that I haven’t seen since Portait Of The Abyss Within. This feeling is best captured by the evocative piano (see “Seeds Of Love”), and the entertainingly varied and, at times, unbalanced guitar work. The introductory portion of “Alone Again” features a clean guitar line that seems almost to decay as it rambles along, before starting over at the beginning and wandering into a different direction. The strange, chromatic, and eerily unhinged experimentation of this and other portions of the album are precisely the kind of attitude that I crave from Eldritch’s work, and there’s precious little disappointment to be had. I think the only overt letdown for me is the slow-paced, dragging middle of the album that suffers from several slower, would-be emotional tunes that get strung together. At least “Love From A Stone” has some good instrumentation and a cool solo section to redeem itself.
Other than what I feel is a return to more “classic” Eldritch songwriting, and the particular depth of atmosphere, this is really classic Eldritch as you know the band – albeit perhaps a bit more well-rounded and mature (actually, with songs like “Something Strong” and “Don’t Listen”, you’d think they were going a little soft in their old age). There aren’t any incredible, jaw-dropping standouts, and Tasting The Tears is a pretty complete experience. In its favor, I keep spinning the album, and it certainly seems shorter than its 50-and-some-odd minute running time, as I seem to have to restart it with distressing regularity. Like most of the Italians’ work, it’s a gradual grower that consistently yields a good a listening experience – plus interest. Terence Holler’s vocals are as unique as ever, and he’s generally a little calmer on this album, but Simone and Ginanneschi are as active as ever, and maybe a little more experimental.
As an Eldritch fan, I can easily recommend this work to others who share my affection for this highly individualistic group, and Tasting The Tears doesn’t make a bad jumping-on point for new fans either. Of all the surprises of early 2014, this album is perhaps the most heart-warming for me, in a strange way. It’s always good to see a long-burning, hard-working band continuing on the artistic straight and narrow, and gradually receiving more support from fans and great labels. If you’re a newcomer and like progressive power metal or a darker, thrashy edge, get on this album, post haste.
4.0 // 5