Oslo’s Eternity return with another blistering assault of old school Norwegian black metal with album number two, the aptly entitled “To Become the Great Beast”. Having not released anything since 2006 (the equally excellent debut “Bringer of the Fail”), Eternity pretty much start from where they left off 13 years ago, unleashing a fury of cold yet memorable riffs, bleak melodies, massive sounding drums and a truly brilliant vocal display that leaves the hair standing up on the back of your neck.
Assisted by the likes of Blasphemer (Vltimas, Aura Noir, ex Mayhem) on bass, plus members of Nocturnal Breed and Den Saakaldte, the whole aim of this album was to create the “ultimate black metal album”, where old school riffing and the all-important atmosphere reign supreme, but is it anywhere near as good as the promo suggests? As always, no, not quite, but it has a bloody good go. The likes of opener “Sun of hate”, “Te Nostro Deum Sathanas”, “If I ever Lived” and album highlight “Horror Vacui”, set out to literally destroy with their expertly constructed mix of violence and reflection. Clearly showing that they are more than adept at recreating that classic 90’s atmosphere (albeit with a bass-heavy yet crisp production), Eternity remind me at times of Gorgoroth, Taake and Sargeist in both their melodic aspects and abrasiveness, which will no doubt appeal to the diehard black metal fraternity in a big way. That said, after the albums seventh track (“To Become the Great Beast”) the album does start to feel like it has made its point, leaving the last three tracks “Violator”, “Empire” and Nine Magic Songs” somewhat redundant and ultimately forgettable, which is a shame.
The musicianship is great, the songs for the most part are well written and arranged, and the atmosphere is generally bang on, but I feel that the album in its entirety lacks variation and by the end outstays its welcome. A little change in formula on occasion goes a long way and I feel that this is where the album lets itself down. Still, the first six tracks are worthy of the price of the album alone and are up there with some of the best examples of traditional black metal currently doing the rounds. (DaveW)