Extreme metal influences with the increasingly popular female-fronted, Goth-courting melodic metal
Now here is something that worries me: A genuinely skilled, talented, even somewhat unique band that unfortunately seem likely to get lost in the shuffle simply due to their name. Not that the name utterly sucks or anything (in fact, the band seem to have put a surprising amount of thought into it, based on what the album's press release says). It's just that, with Into Eternity, After Forever and who knows who else on the rise in the last couple of years, how does one keep track of the all the bands with names referencing time everlasting?
But enough examination of the brand (band) name. What of the product? Ah yes, that inspires far more confidence. The press bio indicates that guitarist Brandon S. Patton, a death metal scene veteran, formed Echoes in an effort to combine his extreme metal influences with the increasingly popular female-fronted, Goth-courting melodic metal style practiced in various forms by Nightwish, After Forever, Lacuna Coil and their ilk. And judging by this promising debut, Patton and his bandmates are well on their way to realizing that vision with great artistic success.
Thankfully, The Forgotten Goddess sees the band skipping one of the major potential pitfalls of combining those two styles--Cookie Monster spoiling the show. Yes, while Epica and other bands make commendable music, I often find myself turned off by the barking death metal-like male vocals that such bands often feel they need to include to provide "contrast" to a pristine female voice. For this reason, I am glad these guys decided to let Francine Boucher work her golden-throated magic uninhibited by such annoyances. The only complaint I have would be the overabundance of those cliched "chugga-chugga" rhythms often employed in modern, Dream Theater-aping prog metal (see the closing bars of "Towers of Silence"- enough already!).
Still, the mix of soaring female vocals, heavy but tuneful riffing, tasty solos, clever tempo changes and occasional acoustic guitars proves a pleasing one, my personal favorite selections here being opener "Burning With Life," "Voices in a Dream" and the memorable title track. I would call this band one to watch, because good as I feel this album is, I have a feeling better things are on the horizon. I await the band's future output with baited breath.
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details