Seas Of Eternal Silence
Review by Alex on July 14, 2019.
Never been the biggest supporter of melodic death metal, though I enjoyed most of Amon Amarth’s early discography, and some albums by lesser known bands, most recently Penetrum "Instrument of Delusion". If I did indulge beyond prior to the latter mentioned, it was usually short-lived moments of bliss found on Dark Tranquility’s "Fiction" and "Character" albums and going no further than a song or two, or in some cases a guitar riff. My lack of interest in melodic death metal evolved into a growing hatred of the genre, all thanks to Arch Enemy………………. Having heard some Hypocrisy songs, I could still not conjure the urge to revisit the genre despite the high pedigree of their music. With some exceptions, bands formed after 1999 under the melodeath sub genre were disdainfully disregarded and as far as my likeness for Amon Amarth's music; it grew faint post "Twilight of the Thunder God", thus signifying an official disassociation and reluctance towards the genre.
The band Exhumation (Greece) never appeared within my musical cross-hairs during the time sipping Amon Amarth's beer, and if the term was mentioned either directly or indirectly, my mind would apply its own auto-correction feature by replacing Exhumation with Exhumed. All sobered-up now due to melodeath’s cheering descent into terminal deterioration, I had the fortune of obtaining a copy of Exhumation’s 1997 debut record Seas of Eternal Silence; hit play and was immediately bombarded by a torrent of the very essence of melodic death metal. At that point my relationship with the sub-genre, though barely a glance in its direction, continued where it came to a halt. The gears of what little intimacy we shared had forced itself from a position of rusted dormancy to a renewed oiled operational state; and for 46 minutes 1 second, the only band synonymous with quintessential melodic death metal was Exhumation.
Seas of Eternal Silence is another one of Greece's best kept secrets, crafted by Exhumation, a band birthed in 1990, just around the time thrash metal started gaining considerable traction in South America. Seas of Eternal Silence sounds like the genre being put through a crafting process. Add keyboards, splinters of groove metal and thrash to its DNA, melodeath is carved from the womb of a sub-genre that would evolve for better and worse; more towards the latter. Already liking the prospects of the intro during its build towards the melodic megalith 'Seas of Eternal Silence', whilst rampantly marching through passages of diligently created ear-worm, this track alone was enough to keep me bedazzled by qualitative guitar leads, solos, and keyboards pulsing with atmosphere and a vocal delivery that stretches elaborately to convey the effect of the imagery. Barely grabbing the ledge by a pinky finger on the mountainous level erected, Exhumation intensifies the momentum, this time catapulting towards a focused ransacking thrash metal attack with some ambiance still present on ‘Dreamy Recollection’. What is striking about the recordings on Seas of Eternal Silence is the manner in which the instrumentation is handled, all notes, all sections played appear intrinsic to the musicians due to the uninterrupted flow they possess. When you hear a guitar lead or a solo, it sounds effortless, as though Panos and Marios are kicking-back in a rocking chair playing without a worry. Same can be said about John’s vocals, Thomas’ keyboards and Pantelis’ drumming; when combined, the music take the shape of a reunion-like jam session.
‘Beyond the Eyes of the Universe’, ‘Forgotten Days’, ‘Passing Suns’ and ‘Ceaseless Sorrow’ claw furiously to claim the top spot; edifying some of the best instrumental symmetry heard on Seas of Eternal Silence. It is here Exhumation excels, the vibrancy of their compositions come to front in effectively broadcasting a range of emotions to the listener/s. This contrast in musicianship gives each track a unique identity whilst applying a cohesive overall image and sound to the album. Part of me wishes Exhumation were still together, but in opposition, I am content with what little (quantity-wise), though remarkably exceptional content was delivered. I’d much prefer a unit put out few quality releases and disband than stick around for 20 + years with each new addition being significantly worse than its predecessor.
The remastered demo tracks are not the best but offer a glimpse as to what Exhumation had been aiming for prior to achieving it on Seas of Eternal Silence. Though roughly recorded and raw in production, the improvement can be heard on the updated version of the instrumental ‘Monuments’, hence, it’s blueprint is traced and invigorated throughout the original music featured on Seas of Eternal Silence. This is essential listening and owning for anyone who has had the displeasure of hearing any of Arch Enemy and cohort’s music. Spending time with Seas of Eternal Silence makes me want to own all of Exhumation’s albums physically, leaving me to wonder if a reissue of Dance Across the Past and Traumaticon will ever materialize. The CD version can be purchased through Vic Records, get it if you can, Seas of Eternal Silence is a piece of irreplaceable metal history.
Rating: 9 out of 10