Vera : Sometime after the release of Mark Kelson’s solo album ’Resurgence’ in 2015, new inspiration came bubbling up for his band The Eternal. In cooperation with his long time mates Marty O’Shea (drums) and Dave Langlands (bass), plus keyboardist Martin Powell, ideas were forged into lengthy, challenging epics in which the dark, melancholic metal with any progressive, gothic and doom elements got a new élan. New guitarist Richie Poate appeared to be inspiring company for Kelson, also as co-producer at the Kelsonic Studios from Mark.
We had to wait for five years before the successor of ’When The Circle Of Light Begins To Fade’ was finished and ready to be released by Finnish label Inverse Records, but these Australian guys give us five quarters of an hour eclectic music. The songs are longer than ever, but this is absolutely no waste of time. From the very outset, with the long intro of opening track ‘The Wound’, we are at the tiptoe of expectations and flabbergasted, no less than twenty minutes long. Soaring synthesizers and sonorous guitars are nicely graced with violins and we can drift away on a bed of melancholic sounds. Instrumentally it is already an amazing journey, including fragments with quiescent piano or sturdy riffs. Every song is built up cautiously. Only after seven minutes thoughtful, dreamy vocals join in, soon echoed by smooth harmonies. We hear magnificent guitar solos in galore and towards the end even some growls. That happens to be a characteristic going back to the early days: the return of (incidentally) grunts and this is a mighty contrast with the dream-like side of Kelson’s chants. The music has a majestic timbre. Female singer Emily Saaen sings with Mark in ‘Rise From Agony’, while Erica Kennedy adds any ear-candy on violin now and then. The captivating ‘A Cold Day To Face My Failure’ dives deep and causes goose-bumps. But also ‘I Lie In Wait’ (another eleven minutes length) happens to be a perfect example of how you turn extensive compositions into an exciting experience and how you use doom elements without being restricted by the genre. ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’ has a kind of catchiness and can be considered as the most accessible song, instantly haunting you. ‘In The Lilac Dusk’ includes some juicy grunts of Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun) as extra, resulting in ferocious dynamics. The title track occludes this superior album in beauty with spoken fragments, soaring gloominess and quiescent ending. ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’ is a genuine album that goes beyond genres and manifests pure beauty. For fans of emotive, melancholic music this is a must have! New impulses have led to the best album of The Eternal in years!