German born Eternity’s End started from more extreme backgrounds when they started. A more grounded and progressive debut in The Fire Within (2016) led the charge and set the standards. But the guys really came out flying with their last release, Unyielding (2019), unleashing a new line-up that brought in Iuri Sanson (ex- Hibria). Following up with Embers of War, there’s been another shift in the line-up, Justin Hombach (Aeos) taking up guitars alongside founding member Christian Münzner and bassist Linus Klausenitzer has returned to the fold as well. 45 flying minutes of pure, classic inspired speed power metal. It’s not as atmospherically pleasing as Unyielding, but the songwriting is up not just one or two notches; they deliver an album inspired heavily by the classics. Unyielding was thick with a Blade Runner on roids atmosphere, something which the more straightforward Embers of War lacks, though there is still plenty of charisma to the entire production. The songwriting is definitely a notch or two up, each song standing more cohesively on its own while still fulfilling the entirety. They’re also leaning further and further into the dueling guitar speed metal shreddery, and Münzner and Hombach’s styles meld perfectly on here.
While the whole outfit comes together as one furious whirlwind speeding through your brain, the guitars stand out like the blow of an axe to your… uh… fence post. Straight outta the gate with Dreadnought (Voyage of the Damned) they let the fury lose, Münzner and Hombach battling the axes like raging laser eagles striking through iridescent hellscapes. The riffs are fantastic, speedy, gritty and memorable, but the solo battling all throughout is just the icing on the speed metal cake. In comes Iuri Sanson, formerly of Hibria. Catchy as hell, Sanson’s furious delivery throughout nails the sweet spot every time; from the gritty verses of Hounds of Tindalos or Bane of the Black Sword to the shrieking falsettos marking every damn chorus, each one hitting the spot like it’s almost perverse. Münzner has praised Racer X as an influence, and it’s tangible, as are the homage to fellow Germans the like of Running Wild and Iron Savior. Especially the epic title track that closes off the album; it plays a lot like a forceful old Running Wild battle on the high seas (but about a robot invasion) and features a guest vocal spot by Iron Savior’s Piet Sielck.
Arcturus Prime might be the track most interesting to your average power metal nerd (such as myself); not quite as breakneck speed as much of the rest of the album and instead leaning heavier on a melodic, catchy as the ‘rona chorus that will not leave your brain. Still heavy with speedy guitar duels, it’s a massive highlight and alongside Hounds of Tindalos makes for the crème de la crème on the album. Hounds of Tindalos slaps fast speeding demons through a neon city scape, and it slaps hard. Technical to a damn point, it shows Münzner’s mastery of his art, and the speedy, sweeping dueling with Hombach is straight up mind blowing. And while there are some dips here and there, that kind of emobides the album as a whole; once Embers of War starts, from that opening riffage turning into delicious shredding in Dreadnought (Voyage of the Damned) until the epic titular finale, it will not stop. From start to finish the album is just an onslaught of catchy as hell speed metal, heavy on Münzner’s rifflicious antics, and I mean that’s just a great day for everybody.
Standout tracks: Dreadnought (Voyage of the Damned), Hounds of Tindalos, Arcturus Prime