It is strange to think that, no matter how obscure or serious newer bands
wish to appear, most of them come off as kids that are simply trying too hard to emulate those that came before them. Unfortunately,
this is lost on many listeners and thus the image manages to survive despite how preposterous it may be. A lot of the bands
try to pass off their hero-worship for something truly unique, even when the inspiration can be clearly discerned. In the
case of Eternity's debut album, ...and the Gruesome Returns with Every Night, one
can instantly hear influences from the Norwegian Black Metal scene. Released by World Terror Committee, in August 2004, this
record came quite late for a band that formed in 1994. This band was hardly any different from the likes of Moonblood or Paragon
Belial, as it regards looking to the north for musical direction. Also in line with those bands, Eternity found it difficult
to make proper albums and ended up existing solely through a handful of demos and split albums. For some reason, German Black
Metal was never in high demand, partially due to the fact that the scene really possessed nothing unique.
on this full-length is fairly standard for the time period. It consists of mostly fast-paced songs that are built around tremolo
melodies and blasting drums. There are some slower sections that create somewhat of a morbid feeling, though it is nothing
that has not been heard before. The primary influences appear to be Darkthrone and Mayhem, with the former dictating the overall
structure and the latter being the source for some of the more haunting riffs. This is not too far off from what Watain was
doing around this time, though more stripped-down and not quite as dark. It can be said that Eternity presented something
that was far more conventional and normal, rather than the chaotic and unorthodox approach of Katharsis, for example. However,
at least that band was attempting to make its own mark, while ...and the Gruesome Returns
with Every Night shows a group of musicians that were really playing it safe.
The production sounds like something
that could have been offered up in the mid-90s, with a relatively raw approach that possesses an organic feeling as opposed
to the multitude of fake, plastic bands that were littering the underground by this point. The percussion is rather minimalist
in the sense that one cannot hear every single thing with perfect clarity and the drumming never gets so much that it overpowers
the more important elements. While being kind of average and paint-by-numbers, this album at least places the focus on the
guitar riffs and vocals. The guitar tone is not as cold and sharp as it could have been, but it is reaching in the right direction.
Also of note is that the bass is more prevalent and this adds a sombre feeling to the music. The mix is just right and the
overall sound is not as lo-fi as Transilvanian Hunger but less polished than Pentagram.
The lyrics demonstrate the German fascination with topics of a more personal
and depressing nature. This is neither good nor bad, though the poor writing takes away from the effect. The themes here have
little to do with actual evil but rather more in terms of the Hell within and the internal darkness. Once could say that both
styles have been done to death, so there is no need to punish the band for this, though they could have at least been more
creative with the lyrics.
In the end, ...and the Gruesome Returns with Every Night
is a solid release, though pretty typical. Eternity has very little in common with the other German Black Metal bands, other
than a fondness for Scandinavian music. These guys are rather conservative when compared to the increased ambition of a band
like Moonblood. Nevertheless, fans of Darkthrone, Mayhem and Gorgoroth are likely to enjoy this for what it is, which is a
continuation of the musical movement that began over a decade earlier. Certainly worth a listen.
(12 Jan. 2012)