It's been a few years, four years, since an Eldritch album crossed my desk. To my surprise, their latest album, Underlying Issues is their tenth studio album. While my recollection of my last pass, Gaia's Legacy is a bit unsteady, this album seems to return Eldritch to earlier roots.
By that I mean, Underlying Issues is heavier, dense, maybe even channeling their darker angle from their early years. What is clearly notable from the start, and throughout, is the abundance of riffage, powerful and relentless. Some may listen and find a depth and blister akin to thrash metal. These things, in turn, are wrapped up in the brisk pace of power metal. However, even when the tempo is more moderate, as with All And More, Eldritch keeps the thumping heaviness in high gear. Even so, underneath and weaving its way through the songs is melody and harmony. Though the guitars are brisk and sharp, there's still harmony.
But the glue that holds those essential elements comes from Terrence Holler's voice and vocal arrangements. Hardly a screamer by nature, he has a melodic clear voice, even soulful and soothing amidst the bristling heavy metal which surrounds him. You can hear some of that latter timbre within The Face I Wear, but even more so in To The Moon And Back, possibly the lightest song here. Still it's not all thrashing about, well, yeah it is, but Before I Die is a song that captures the proper integration of rock groove with the heavy metal. The song is catchy, like AOR accessible catchy. It's also an example how, though somewhat buried in the arrangement, where light keyboards, often in the form of piano, also help to take some of the edge off. In the end, it's probably best to consider Underlying Issues simply an intense guitar-centered album as the riffs, with the abundant solos, essentially hold sway over everything else. If you like that description, and the all-consuming brash and brisk heaviness, you will like Underlying Issues.
In the end, it's probably best to consider Underlying Issues simply an intense guitar-centered album as the riffs, with the abundant solos, hold sway over everything else. If you like that description, and the all-consuming brash and brisk heaviness, you will like this album.
It's been sometime since I heard from Iced Earth. My last Iced Earth review was nine years ago for 2008's The Crucible of Man - Something Wicked Part 2. With all the music that gets pitched my way on a daily, and yearly, basis I'm not ... [ Read More ]