Swedish heavy metal band Eternal (of Sweden) was formed in the mid-Swedish region of Dalecarlia in 2007. The band is made up by shouter Christer Gärds, guitar player Björn Andersson, bass man Anders Sandström, drummer Pelle Hindén and keyboard player Pontus Lekaregård. The band has played at Sabaton Open Air festival but was introduced to me through a childhood friend that called me up and said I´d better check out this band. So I did and got a really pleasant surprise. Up for review is the band’s second full-length effort called Heaven´s Gate and it was released in early 2016. Eternal (of Sweden) put out an EP called Start of a New Era in 2008 and the first full album, tentatively called Chapter 1, was released in 2012.
Eternal (of Sweden) play melodic heavy metal with a twist. I would say they sound very similar to Nocturnal Rites (which is not a bad comparison in any way) and Christer Gärds sounds like a dead ringer for Johnny Lindqvist (Nocturnal Rites). It is well executed, the songs are really catchy and mostly memorable. The crisp production has been handled by famed producer Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Lindemann, Pain ) deep in the Dalecarlian woods. The tone of the album is set by the opening track and first single called “Ruins”. This is a heavy metal blast with a nice and memorable chorus and this style of music continues on throughout the whole album.
The second song is the title track and it starts with a heavy chugging guitar riff with a sinister keyboard sound in the background. It only adds to the feeling that this is the album Nocturnal Rites should have put out after 8th Sin. Gärds shouts “Dad was a sailor and mother, she was a whore” with a conviction that is hard to deny. After a couple of spins the album has really settled in and it is an album you return to every now and then. Songs like the fast paced but catchy “Surrounded by Shadows”, the beautiful “Angel” (featuring guest vocals by Mikaela Henriksson) or the memorable and super catchy “Evil Dance” demands your complete attention.
Just when I had given up that Nocturnal Rites would ever release another album along comes another Swedish band to fill the void. I realise I still have a soft spot for melodic metal with those raspy vocals. Parallells could, of course, be drawn to fellow Dalecarlian band Sabaton but they effectively stay away from that territory. The lack of originality is all forgiven when you get this kind of well executed, “in your face” melodic metal. I had to play the album a couple of times though before really knowing what to think of it. It will be interesting to see what the band will come up with next in an international very crowded genre. They sure have the skill and the songs to take themselves to the next level.
If you are unfamiliar with these guys – do yourself a favour and check them out!