The Gates Beyond Mortality
Review by Felix on October 8, 2023.
After less than two years since their extremely old-fashioned and very energetic debut, Eternal Evil are back with The Gates Beyond Mortality. Two years is a rather short period between two albums, but the Scandinavians aren’t lazy: it was time enough to kick out the old rhythm section and integrate a new one. Apart from these line-up modifications, another process of change is remarkable. After a hasty demo and the thundering debut, the band has begun to emancipate itself from its idols. The sound of the Swedes no longer sticks between “Endless Pain” and “Pleasure To Kill”. Even neckbreaker like 'Funeral Prayer' have a discreet melody line. But the process of emancipation is not only a positive thing, because the band seems to be prematurely aged. What I want to say is: compared with the debut, The Gates Beyond Mortality brings us 10% less devastation, 20% less high velocity segments and 10%, I beg your pardon, more so-so segments. Is this the price for the newly gained maturity?
Possessed’s “Beyond The Gates” comes to my mind in view of the title Eternal Evil have chosen for their second full-length. Maybe this is no coincidence, because “Beyond The Gates” was a good album, but until today, it stands in the shadow of an unbeatable debut (last but not least because of its dull production). In terms of the mix, Eternal Evil have done nothing wrong. The typical thrash voice (without high pitched screams) is in the center of the mix, but the instrumental section is not fobbed off with handouts either. It’s a state of the art production. In terms of recording possibilities, Eternal Evil do not fear modernity. But as indicated above, I am not very happy about the stylistic readjustment. Therefore I fear The Gates Beyond Mortality will share the destiny of “Beyond The Gates” and will have a less glorious place than the debut in the band’s discography. It’s almost a malicious twist of fate - the guys want to impress the listener with their newly won manifoldness. Too bad that raw outbursts are still the core competence of the quartet. Yet the difficult extension of the own musical horizon is not the only problem here. The band is also not immune against wasting its potential.
Very promising beginnings do not necessarily lead to great tunes. The title track starts with a cool line somewhere between Testament and Slayer, but it falls victim to some comparatively expressionless sections. The silent intermezzo is okay and there is nothing that annoys me, but somehow the song in its essence is less than the sum of its parts. 'Desecration Of Light' is equipped with a captivating and alarming guitar line at the beginning as well. Fortunately, it is more compact and comes to the point directly. Maybe no outstanding jewel in the history of thrash, but a defiant, aggressive and vigorous piece.
The final third underlines the impression of the first six songs. I am listening to a good album, even though I wish there would be a higher portion of the fiery vehemence 'Immolation' offers. This track with its fine Reign-in-Blood-solos, the rapid verses and the sharp bridge as well as the uncompromising and furious 'Funeral Prayer' build the bridge to the Armageddon-like debut. By contrast, 'The Astral Below' is just there, decent yet inconspicuous. The closer leaves a better footprint. Honestly speaking, it is the only “sophisticatedly structured” track where all sections go hand in hand. Okay, when it comes to eight-minutes-thrash-attacks, I still prefer Hallow’s Eve’s band anthem or Sacrifice’s “Flames Of Armageddon”, but 'The Cursed Trilogy' makes a cool statement too. So all in all it’s true that I miss the impetuous fierceness of their first output, but The Gates Beyond Mortality is recommendable as well.
Rating: 7.4 out of 10447