It is strange to think that, no matter how obscure or serious newer
bands wish to appear, most of them come off as kids that are simply trying too hard to emulate those that came before them.
Unfortunately, this is lost on many listeners and thus the image manages to survive despite how preposterous it may be. A
lot of the bands try to pass off their hero-worship for something truly unique, even when the inspiration can be clearly discerned.
In the case of Eternity's debut album, ...and the Gruesome Returns with Every Night,
one can instantly hear influences from the Norwegian black metal scene. Released by World Terror Committee, in August 2004,
this record came quite late for a band that formed in 1994. This band was hardly any different from the likes of Moonblood
or Paragon Belial, as it regards looking to the north for musical direction. Also in line with those bands, Eternity found
it difficult to make proper albums and ended up existing solely through a handful of demos and split albums. For some reason,
German black metal was never in high demand, partially due to the fact that the scene really possessed nothing unique.
material on this full-length is fairly standard for the time period. It consists of mostly fast-paced songs that are built
around tremolo melodies and blasting drums. There are some slower sections that create somewhat of a morbid feeling, though
it is nothing that has not been heard before. The primary influences appear to be Darkthrone and Mayhem, with the former dictating
the overall structure and the latter being the source for some of the more haunting riffs. This is not too far off from what
Watain was doing around this time, though more stripped-down and not quite as dark. It can be said that Eternity presented
something that was far more conventional and normal, rather than the chaotic and unorthodox approach of Katharsis, for example.
However, at least that band was attempting to make its own mark, while ...and the Gruesome
Returns with Every Night shows a group of musicians that were really playing it safe.
The production sounds
like something that could have been offered up in the mid-90s, with a relatively raw approach that possesses an organic feeling
as opposed to the multitude of fake, plastic bands that were littering the underground by this point. The percussion is rather
minimalist in the sense that one cannot hear every single thing with perfect clarity and the drumming never gets so much that
it overpowers the more important elements. While being kind of average and paint-by-numbers, this album at least places the
focus on the guitar riffs and vocals. The guitar tone is not as cold and sharp as it could have been, but it is reaching in
the right direction. Also of note is that the bass is more prevalent and this adds a sombre feeling to the music. The mix
is just right and the overall sound is not as lo-fi as Transilvanian Hunger but less
polished than Pentagram.
The lyrics demonstrate the German fascination with
topics of a more personal and depressing nature. This is neither good nor bad, though the poor writing takes away from the
effect. The themes here have little to do with actual evil but rather more in terms of the Hell within and the internal darkness.
Once could say that both styles have been done to death, so there is no need to punish the band for this, though they could
have at least been more creative with the lyrics.
In the end, ...and the Gruesome
Returns with Every Night is a solid release, though pretty typical. Eternity has very little in common with the other
German black metal bands, other than a fondness for Scandinavian music. These guys are rather conservative when compared to
the increased ambition of a band like Moonblood. Nevertheless, fans of Darkthrone, Mayhem and Gorgoroth are likely to enjoy
this for what it is, which is a continuation of the musical movement that began over a decade earlier. Certainly worth a listen.
(12 Jan. 2012)