By Mike Maher
I’ve actually wanted to hear this disc for a few months now as they seemed to be creating quite a stir in the so called ‘hot chicks’ metal department, so I was happy that I got the chance to review it.
Echoes of Eternity are an L.A. based band that was formed in 2005.According to their press kit, guitarist/songwriter Brandon Patton wanted to form a band that would “combine the power and aggressiveness of extreme metal with the musicianship of progressive metal and complete the sound with the beautiful dynamics of the female voice.” The Forgotten Goddess, their first release, was recorded over six months and released in February on the Nuclear Blast USA label. Vocals are handled by Quebec native Francine Boucher, who has already made the cover of Revolver’s “Hottest Chicks in Metal” issue. Echoes of Eternity is her first professional band.
First comment: Francine’s voice is excellent. Her vocals have an ethereal or angelic quality that I really enjoy. Unfortunately, she sounds a bit muted or overshadowed by the guitars. It may be the mix or maybe her voice isn’t that strong yet, I don’t know. I like this album, but I cannot say that I love it.It will appeal to those who favor female vocals and to people who prefer a more aggressive/extreme metal style (think a way-less progressive Into Eternity). The music is pretty straight aggressive metal but it seems more symphonic because of her unique voice. I don’t think the band brings anything new and exciting to the world and they may simply be a band trying to cash in on the “hot chicks in metal” trend. They certainly can do that with Francine but I think (and hope) there is more to this band than a simple image. The guitars are good and the song structure is solid, but I would not call this a progressive metal album, and I wish there were some more melodic solos. The guitars are very aggressive and there is a lot of double bass and cymbal banging. Personally, I can’t call them progressive simply because they have a female singer with an angelic-style voice. I’ll expect great things from them on their follow-up album. Hopefully they will get the vocal mix right and bring her impressive talent more into the forefront, and drop the extreme style guitars for a more melodic and progressive approach. I would recommend it to those who are into a harder style of metal and who don’t have anything against ghostly female vocals. If you are very picky when it comes to vocalists, you may not like this. I don’t feel that Francine is anywhere close to Tarja or Cristina but it is her first album.
For some reason I prefer the second half of this album, probably because it’s not as heavy and Francine really sounds good on these tunes:
“The Kingdom Within”
“Circles in Stone”
“Garden of the Gods”
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