Monday, January 9, 2017

QUICK HITS: Eternal Champion - The Armor of Ire

AH! AH! Ah! ah! ah. ah...

In my eyes, Eternal Champion's The Armor of Ire is 2016's answer to Visigoth's The Revenant King from last year.  Most of the similarities are obvious, from the Texan origin to the massive Manilla Road influence, and that's honestly not a bad thing at all.  I fucking adored The Revenant King, and this is pretty much more of the same and that's a-ok to me.  The band shares a handful of members with Sumerlands as well, another new heavy metal band that made waves last year, including Arthur Rizk, who also produced both bands' debuts, and it shows.  What we have here is just straight up fucking muscle bound heavy metal with no pretension.  From the first legit riff at 1:50 in "I am the Hammer", the band makes its presence known with sheer, unmitigated power.  There are two noticeable flaws to me though, one of which is the vocals.  We all know my opinion on Manilla Road, and Jason Tarpey clearly takes roughly 95% of his vocal technique from Mark Shelton.  I don't care for the Road's vocals and I don't care for Eternal Champion's in kind.  That really nasally type of thing works well enough but I feel like a band like Visigoth showed us all how beneficial an undeniably powerful voice can be in a band like this.  As a result, the strength that defines the riffage is let down a bit by the vocals that carry so much of the melody.  Secondly, they're not afraid to pick up the pace, which is usually a huge plus to me, but here I feel like their strength is very clearly in the more pounding mid paced numbers.  There is such a crushing, powerful stomp in songs like "I am the Hammer", "Invoker", and "Sing a Last Song of Valdise" that I feel is missing in the title track and "The Last King of Pictdom".  However, I feel like the best song apart from the opener is "The Cold Sword" and the coolest moment is the high octane riff in the bridge of "Sing a Last Song of Valdise", so really what the hell do I know?  Regardless, this is a great album and any fans of skull crushing old school metal and high fantasy barbarism should give it a listen.  At less than thirty five minutes, it's certainly not a time commitment you'll end up regretting.

RATING - 84%

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