Band: Eternal Champion
Label: No Remorse Records
genre: heavy ‘sword raising’ metal
Raising swords and raising hell
I am not entirely sure what I find so alluring about Eternal Champion. It may be the reference to Michael Moorcock’s work, but it may also be its hyper-retroism of classical heavy metal. Or simply the sensual artwork, that you particularly see in the bygone era of muscular fantasy heroes with scantly clad ladies (rarely without powers of their own). Perhaps it’s the mixture of all these elements that makes it stand out. Fact is: Eternal Champion rocks.
This is the second full-length for the band from Austin, Texas. Comprised of members from the band Sumerlands and War Hungry, the line-up is completed with vocalist Jason Tarpey from Graven Rite and guitar player Blake Ibanez (how awesome is that for a guitar player’s name) from Power Trip. And they perform with a sword held high, without becoming an uncomfy cheese-fest like Manowar. Don’t be like Manowar… For many reasons. Ok, let’s drop that line of thoughts.
Cleaving through the night, like thunder, hooves will split the ground – ‘A Face in the Glare’
We’re immediately off with massive riffs and this bad-ass Tom G. Warrior ‘Ugh!’ but we move on to a sound that I feel has a lot of Cirith Ungol in it. Vocals that stand out remarkably, but fit the soaring nature of the sound that pulsates with power. That being said, it’s not Manowar posturing, but some true storytelling as you can hear on ‘Skullseeker’. Conan-esque, yes, but that’s good stuff as well so nothing to complain about here.
What I find most enjoyable about this record, is that I don’t know how to make it seem like anything else than what it really is. Tough old-school heavy metal, full of sharp guitars and thundering rhythms. It’s not complicated, but executing this style correctly is a challenge. Eternal Champion does that on tracks like ‘Coward’s Keep’, which thunders on with strong melodies and soaring vocals.
I would almost say that if you do not like Eternal Champion, you most likely don’t actually like metal, But hey, that would be a heavy statement. I mean, you could not want to bang your head to ‘Banners of Arhai’. But I sincerely hope that’s due to injury or a compromising situation, because the song definitely deserves it. SO, once more to close this story: Hail Eternal Champion!