Sound — 6
British deathcore band Eternal Lord formed in 2005 after the surprise split of metalcore group Hunt for Ida Wave. After a few line-up changes in 2007 with their bassist and vocalist (now playing in melodic hardcore group Dreaming in Oceans) they recruited current vocalist Ed Butcher, who's shock exit from Australian metalcore legends I Killed the Prom Queen allowed him to re-unite with his old HFIW members in Eternal Lord. As shown by the tracks from the record released earlier on in the year, the new sound is a change in direction from the Eternal Lord the underground UK metal scene came to love with their self titled EP and split record with Glasweigan group Azriel, prefering to go in a much heavier (helped with the change of tuning from Drop B to drop A#) and beatdown dominant feel reminiscent of the likes of The Acacia Strain and Bury Your Dead than the comfortable stock metalcore sound of old. The album's opener "Hot to Trot" starts with an ambient build up of tension which leads to quite an anti-climatic beatdown. This dull and generic start leaves you dissapointed straight away, yet sets the tone which is consistant throughout the whole of the record. Track "Set Your Anchor" starts with a drum solo very (almost too) reminiscent of An Autopsy by American tech-deathers The Faceless, with the majority of the guitar work very bland and too similar to The Acacia Strain for my liking. The record starts to pick up after the halfway mark with the melodic and satisfying "I, The Deceiver" which takes a couple of pages from the Misery Signals book of melodic metalcore. This is certainly the stand out track amongst the album both in quality and style, as it is completely different from all the other tracks on the CD in it's melodic and use uplifting arpeggios. After this point the record seems to take a much more traditional metal approach similar to the likes of At The Gates and even traces of Pantera thrown in to the mix (as shwon by "The Damned's" intro). The obligitory-acoustic-metalcore track is not missing on this record with the painfully boring "Amity", but the record ends satisfyingly enough with the beatdown-laden title track to wrap up a very inconsistant record indeed.
Lyrics — 5
Controversial vocalist Ed-Butcher has plenty of fans (mostly residing in Australia after his brief stint with I Killed the Prom Queen) and haters amongst the metal scene, who's attitudes are unlikely to change after hearing this record. His Tazmanian-Devil style grunts and screams compliment the record well but haven't seemed to progress much since the Hunt for Ida Wave days, which is slightly dissapointing. His lyrics have enough imagery and despair to keep most metal fans happy and follow the old pre-Butcher EL and familiar theme of the ocean and death ("I've filled my lungs with all the icy cold water, these sea's wont let me breath"). Although they are dark enough, the theme is just too overdone and seems to be a fashionable phase in the metal scene at the moment. If you're a fan of Butcher's vocals in his old bands, then I doubt you'll have a changed view upon listening to this record.
Overall Impression — 6
Eternal Lord had a lot to live up to after the impressiveness of their records of old, but with a new vocalist the change of sound was inevitable and is almost unrecognisable of the band before the arrival of Butcher. It's heavy enough to keep most people happy but the use of breakdowns is just too overdone and brings nothing new to the table at all. At times you get the impression that they can't decide whether they want to rip off the likes of The Acacia Strain/Bury your Dead or the more melody focused Misery Signals/For The Fallen Dreams. It's consistantly dull and at times it's lack of originality is cringe worthy, although it does have it's positive moments with title track "Blessed be this Nightmare" and "I, The Deciever", the latter undoubtedly the superior track on the album. If it's heavy you want then it's heavy you'll get, just don't expect anything original or even interesting. If this record got stolen I probably wouldn't notice it was missing, and even if I did notice I really wouldn't care. Disapointing and dull.