Album Releases Album Reviews

Eagleheart – Reverse Review

Released By: Scarlet Records

Release Date: August 18th, 2017

Genre: Power Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/eagleheartband/

 

Line Up:

Roman Sá?ek – Vocals

Michal K?s – Guitars

Michal Jankuliak – Guitars

Vojt?ch Šimoník – Bass

Filip Smetana – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Awakening

2. Until Fear is Gone

3. Healing the Scars

4. All I Am

5. Palace of Thoughts

6. Reverse

7. Erased from Existence

8. Mind to Decipher

9. Endless

10. Enemy Within

11. Painting the Shadows by Light

12. Erased (Bonus Track)

 

Upon seeing the band name Eagleheart, one can be excused for immediately thinking they must be heavily influenced by a certain Finnish band, but that actually wouldn’t be too accurate. Instead, the power metal band hailing from the Czech Republic have their own, much more modernized sound, which I was first introduced to on their sophomore release Dreamtherapy, back in 2011. I found that album to be flawed but fairly enjoyable, and it definitely showed promise, while not being anything special on its own. Almost six years later, the band has released their third album, Reverse, and it looks like they really took the time to polish their sound and step it up with their songwriting, because this time they’ve produced a much stronger, more memorable release, which certainly has most of the same elements, but has much stronger songs and a more polished sound overall.

The band has gone through some major lineup changes since Dreamtherapy, with new drummer Filip Smetana joining the band in between albums, but the biggest change was the departure of bassist
Ji?í Fiala, which has led to former lead vocalist Vojt?ch Šimoník switching over to bass, while Roman Sá?ek has been brought into taking over the lead vocals. Musically, Reverse sounds fairly similar to its predecessor, with the band playing a pretty heavy guitar driven brand of power metal, with some prog elements and some especially aggressive sections that at times bring Symphony X to mind. While there’s no listed keyboardist, keys are used quite frequently throughout the album, mostly to add some flavor, and they’re used quite effectively, even becoming the main focus on softer tracks like “All I Am” and “Erased From Existence”. While the songwriting is fairly straightforward, there’s some excellent instrumental work throughout, with the guitar riffs in particularly being very hard-hitting at times, and there’s some excellent solo work throughout.

One area where the band’s previous album fell a bit short was in the vocals department, as Vojt?ch Šimoník has a strong voice, but isn’t the most capable singer on his own. This time around, things work out much better as Roman Sá?ek has a fairly deep voice and is much smoother in his delivery, which makes him much more pleasant to hear during long stretches, while Vojt?ch and guitarist Michal K?s deliver some nice backing vocals throughout. Overall, I think the band made the right decision by bringing Roman in, as he’s a very solid vocalist, able to provide the smooth vocals needed for the many softer passages here, while still being capable of some more aggressive vocals at times, and he does a very good job throughout.

After the expected intro track, opener “Until the Fear is Gone” storms in with a very fast paced opening riff, and it’s the kind of high energy, up tempo track you’d expect to hear at the start of a power metal album. It has excellent guitar work, including a great solo in the second half, some nice melodic passages, and a great chorus, and overall it’s very much an instantly satisfying track, making it the perfect way to start the album. Next is “Healing the Scars”, a much more aggressive track, which is more mid paced, though it does speed up at points and has a pretty nice tempo to it. This track is very guitar driven, with some of the heaviest riffs on the album, and it even gets a bit thrashy at times, especially during the chorus, where we get some screams, during a slower section, before it speeds up and the vocal harmonies take over and are quite good. This is the only song on the album where I really notice any thrash elements, so it’s a nice change of pace and adds some energy to the track, while the more melodic solo section in the middle is quite nice as well. Definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album.

With the previous track being so heavy, it’s only fitting that “All I Am” is one of the more melodic tracks on the album, with a much softer, more subdued chorus where the keyboards take over, and it’s a more mid paced track overall, with even the guitar driven sections not being as hard hitting. It’s a very nice track overall, though not really a standout. Next is “Palace of Thoughts”, a song which very much represents the album on the whole, as it’s speedy in bursts but stays fairly mid paced throughout its verses and chorus. It has a fast paced opening riff, before slowing down for a while, though it has one of the strongest and most memorable choruses on the album. Following that, is the title track, another mostly mid paced track with some heavy riffs early on, though it too has a very nice melodic chorus, as well an awesome solo section later on, where the music speeds up.

On the whole, I find a lot of the songs on this album fairly similar, as for the most part the songs are fairly mid paced throughout, with occasional speedy sections, and each track has a mix of heavier sections where guitars dominate, melodic choruses where the vocals shine and occasionally some more keyboard driven sections. There aren’t any weak songs on the album, though, and there are enough standouts to make it a satisfying album overall. One song in the second half that really stands out is “Mind to Decipher”, which starts out with some nice folk melodies before speeding up with some aggressive riffs, which carry on throughout the verses, and then it has an absolutely beautiful chorus where Roman really steals the show, and the solo section in the second half brings back the heavy riffs and speeds up even further, making for a very memorable sequence.

Next are “Endless” and “Enemy Within”, too fairly upbeat tracks, which still aren’t terribly fast, but both move at a nice pace and have great choruses, with the former especially getting epic during the final run of its chorus, while the latter has an excellent speedy section in the second half. Closing track “Painting the Shadows by Light” is one final standout track, as it’s the most consistently fast paced track on the album and has some truly excellent melodic guitar work, as well as a fantastic chorus, and some memorable instrumental sections in the middle. This track feels like it has more energy than many other tracks on the album, while still being very melodic and having some great vocal work, and so that makes it easily one of the best on the album. Lastly, as a bonus track, we have “Erased”, which is basically a ballad version of “Erased from Existence”, and if anything it stands out a bit more and allows Roman to really show off his vocal capabilities.

Overall, Reverse is a very good power metal album with occasional prog elements, some excellent musicianship, and some very strong lead vocals.It represents a big step up for Eagleheart, and while the songwriting could perhaps use a bit more variety, every song is very enjoyable and there are no weak moments on the entire album. It’s definitely a more consistently satisfying album than their previous release, Dreamtherapy, and is one I can easily recommend to any power metal fan looking for something with some heavy riffs as well as some prog elements, to go along with the expected big choruses and epic vocal melodies.

 

Reviewer: Travis Green

Rating: 8/10

 

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