Italian power metal band.

El Nino Eldritch - El Niño (Inside Out) 1998

1. "Fall From Grace" (2:06)
2. "No Direction" (7:06)
3. "Heretic Beholder" (5:05)
4. "Scar" (4:27)
5. "Bleed Mask Bleed" (4:38)
6. "The Last Days Of The Year" (4:32)
7. "From Dusk Till Dawn" (5:38)
8. "To Be Or Not To Be (God)" (7:14)
9. "El Niño" (5:32)
10. "?" [hidden track] (6:04)

Italian progressive power metal that is fast and aggressive at times yet still very melodic. Unlike the follow-up this album doesn't even hint at any sort of 'modern' or 'nu-metal' styles, but instead slams along in a traditional style that still sounds fresh and creative while retaining that 'traditional' metal label. Part of what gives the disc it's fresh sound is the addition of the keyboards, which don't really compete with the guitars for dominance, but do add in some interesting melodies and odd noises and effects. Killer vocal performance as well, with just the right mix of aggression and melodic hook. This was the first album I had ever heard by Eldritch, which had me searching for more from this band. Wasn't I in for a surprise when I picked up:

Eldritch - Reverse (Pick Up/Metal Blade) 2000

1. "e-nest" [instrumental] (1:10)
2. "Reverse" (5:08)
3. "Slavery on Line" (5:17)
4. "Leftovers and Crumbs" (4:32)
5. "Bitterweet Penny" (4:28)
6. "Bio-Trinity" (5:51)
7. "Suffering Degree" (4:31)
8. "My Sharona" (3:10)
9. "Soul Shrinkage" (4:02)
10. "Leech" (4:30)
11. "Little Irwing" (6:10)
12. multimedia/video

Someone described this disc to me as nu-metal. That's not even close to being the case. I have also read that Eldritch are 'just another power metal band.' This is not exactly the case either. "Reverse" certainly is not typical of power metal, although there is plenty of power metal within this cd. However, the band mixes in some elements of electronica. Throughout the album Eldritch mix in odd keyboard/synth sounds into their heavy songwriting. There is also the occasional sample and drum loop as well. Eldritch are actually quite unique, although for the most part, their style will mostly appeal to fans of power metal. The closest comparisons I can come up with are possibly Nevermore, Enola Gay and to a lesser degree Deliverance's "Assimilation" although none of these really are even that similar. The production is quite stunning as well; the band has killer guitar tones and crunch. On the negative side, the lyrics are a bit dark and depressing, albeit very poetically written. I also don't understand what these European metal bands likes about that terrible the Knack song "My Sharona." Destruction, a German thrash band, also recorded a cover of this song. Eldritch's version is as annoying as the original and Destruction's atrocious cover. Overall, however, an interesting disc that certainly peeked my interest. My particular copy is a digi-pack version released in Germany and was given to me by a metalhead friend who was less than thrilled with the sampling and synths.

Neighborhell Eldritch - Neighbourhell (SPV) 2006

1. "Still Screaming" (5:52)
2. "Save Me" (3:46)
3. "Bless Me Now" (3:04)
4. "The Dark Inside" (3:59)
5. "More Than Marilyn" (4:37)
6. "Come To Life" (3:56)
7. "Zero Man" (4:31)
8. "Standing Still" (4:10)
9. "Toil of Mine" (3:38)
10. "The Rain" (3:59)
11. "Second World" (3:45)

Imagine a band that was equally inspired by bands like Megadeth and Annihilator as they were bands like Fates Warning and Savatage and you might get an idea of what to expect here. "Neighborhell" walks a fine line between power metal and thrash with a progressive touch as well. The CD opens with a fine power thrash number called "Still Screaming" and features some fine clean vocal work by Terence Holler. However with the very next song, Holler changes up vocal style. One the verses he uses a more aggressive thrash, almost hardcore style, then switches back to the cleaner, power metal style for the chorus. I can see how this might throw some power metal purists for a loop, but I thought it rather interesting. Likewise "Bless Me Know" has this same mixture of vocal styles. Eldritch are not a band that is afraid to experiment. As a matter of fact, the experiment quite a bit on this CD, using odd time changes and mixing in other styles of metal. "More than Marilyn" is a doomy, almost death metal number. "Zero Man" is a melodic number that features some female backing vocals. "Neighbourhell" is a stunning album with excellent vocal melodies, heavy riffing, catchy choruses, and guitar solos that will leave any fan of shred with a smile on their face.

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