“Underlying Issues” is the tenth official album for the veteran progressive/power metalers from Tuscany. I admit that I haven’t checked them recently, as the last release that I have heard from them was “Gaia’s Legacy”, back in 2011. I remember that the album combined powerful guitar riffs and solos along with great melodies, strong, passionate vocals, and smart progressive touches.
ELDRITCH’s new album has all of the above, while it gives the listener the impression that the band returns to some of its earlier roots. The sound is heavier, dense and carries out a darker angle that can be traced back to their earlier works. Some may even notice a slight thrash-y touch, blended into the band’s brisk prog/power pace, due to Rudj Ginanneschi’s fiery riffs. Check for such examples in “The Light” and “Slowmotion ‘K’ Us”.
This heaviness is retained even in the more moderate tempo moments like “All And More”. Yet, despite the brisk and sharp guitars, the melody and harmony are still present and find their way through the songs. The warm melodies from Eugene Simone’s keyboards take care of that, while Alessio Consani and Raffahell Dridge build a tight rhythm section.
Once again, the vocal arrangements come to stich these features all together. Terence Holler’s warm and melodic voice, combined with Simone’s slightly harsher backing vocals create a flexible vocal section that fits perfectly into both the album’s heavier and lighter moments.
Talking about lighter moments, “To The Moon And Back” is the “power ballad” of the album. It stands in the middle of the tracklisting, slowing down the things a bit. Its alternation of emotions will soothe you and they will give you time to blow off some steam before “Bringers Of Hate” lifts you up with its anthemic tempo.
And as for weak moments, there is just one and it’s called “Before I Die”. The song is groovy and catchy, too catchy I’d say. Its AOR-like approach doesn’t fit with the general orientation of the album.
But in the end, “Underlying Issues” is an album of high quality, preserving the high standards that ELDRITCH have set in their works over the years.
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This review is kindly offered by More Nowhere Reviews team.