When you think of death metal, “beautiful” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Yet that is the best one-word description of the debut album from Spain’s Eternal Storm. Come the Tide is an atmospheric, melodic death metal masterpiece that unearths beauty through devastation.
The band doesn’t beat around the bush, starting their debut album out with the two-part odyssey “Through the Wall of Light”. Part I is a thrill ride with blast beats, outrageously good riffs (e.g. at the 5:13 mark), and haunting leads. Part II starts more solemn and introduces some clean vocals. Eternal Storm then joins a growing legion of metal bands that successfully use a saxophone with a solo courtesy of guest musician Manuel Mendoza. While his sac solo is brilliant, you almost lose sight of it because of how transcendent the song becomes after that point with its impassioned vocals (both clean and growled) and mystical guitar leads. This two-part opener sets the tone and maritime theme of the album.
This album is the true definition of a grower. Sure, I was impressed on the first listen through, but by the fourth I was hit with a wall of emotions. There are so many layers to each song, and the band masterfully introduces and builds upon motifs. There are plenty of glorious lead guitar moments, such as the climb at 8:52 of “Of Winter and Treason”. The transitions are great too, examples being the clean passage after the first minute of “The Scarlet Lake” and the cacophonous fuzz transitions on “Detachment” and closer “Embracing Waves”. I’ve even come to appreciate the spoken word bridge in “The Mountain”, and I normally hate spoken word in metal.
Clean vocals are used sparsely throughout the album. However, lead vocalist/bassist Kheryon does an excellent job of conveying emotion through harsh vocals, whereas other bands would normally rely on clean vocals for this. The scarce use of cleans makes them all the more impactful when they show up. The growls and clean vocals come together perfectly in the monolith of a closer “Embracing Waves”. And what a way to end an album! Everything I love about this album is encapsulated in this song: soaring guitar leads, beautiful passages, clever transitions, high-energy drumming, and of course those vocals.
Like Ahab in search for Moby Dick, I tried to find a reason not to rate this album so highly. “No way,” I thought “another masterpiece released in August?” But here we are. I find myself connecting with this album more and more with each listen, and I think you will too. I’m still dumbfounded by the fact that this is the band’s debut album! Maybe it’s too early or too bold to say for now, but if Eternal Storm continues to release albums to the quality of Come the Tide, they will be to Spain what Gojira is to France.
Eternal Storm can be found on:
Best Tracks: Through the Wall of Light Pts. I & II, Embracing Waves, Detachment
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Insomnium, Dark Tranquility, Opeth
Overall Score: A