There’s a hole in society’s tortured heart.
Few bands can boast the long-term cohesion that has been enjoyed by Italian power/prog extraordinaire outfit Eldritch, both in terms of their studio output and the core membership that has driven the name since the early 90s, and a few years before under the different moniker of Zeus.
Of course, as with most bands there has been some fluctuations in their lineup that has seen a number of drummers and bassists come and go, and original keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff would take an extended hiatus for about 20 years for a stint with Vision Divine, Death SS and a couple other projects before finding his way back to the fold a few years ago. Be this as it may, the band’s core sound has always relied on the constant presence of co-founder and vocalist Terrence Holler and the steady compositional hand of original guitarist Eugene Simone, and that remained constant from this outfit’s inception, until about a year ago when Holler opted for retirement, seemingly throwing some major sand into the gears of this well-oiled machine following a stellar showing in 2021 LP “Eos”.
Thankfully the Italian power metal scene has been and continues to be a rich well of vocal talent, and a suitable replacement has been tapped in former Shinning Fury and current Silver P. singer Alex Jarusso. In comparison to his predecessor, Jarusso‘s approach is tad bit more top heavy, resembling the soaring tenor range that is fairly typical of helmsman of such noted power/prog outfits like Labyrinth and Vision Divine, with maybe a tad more grit that reminisces a bit more towards what Fabio Lione has brought to Angra for the past decade, minus some of the operatic excesses.
Suffice it to say, he gels perfectly into the ultra-melodic and technically-charged stylistic template that Eldritch works in, resulting in a sound that still sees the band maintaining a similar sense of kinetic yet cerebral metallic flair that compares heavily to the mode exhibited by Conception and Elegy. The resulting latest LP “Innervoid”, in additional to recapping the riveting character of this band’s signature sound, sees this new voice proving equal apt at conveying this band’s corresponding themes of social commentary and introspection.
Kicking things off with what can be best described as a synth-pop meets industrial metal prelude with a heavy keyboard overlay that also bears the album’s title, what unfolds with each song is a cacophony of notes and grooves that converges to paint a picture of society in a state of utter woe. Seemingly just as things get going with the first full on song ‘Handful Of Sand (Right Or Wrong)’ this album hits an early apex point, as the longest and most dynamic offering of the lot, it functions well as an exposition but almost seems to upstage everything that follows it. Analogies could naturally be made to noted early Dream Theater, ‘Pull Me Under’, though the pacing and impact factor on this song might be a bit more analogous to something heard on Vision Divine‘s self-titled debut meshed with a Dream Theater sense of progression. Nevertheless, this is an album that continues to convey greatness, with more mid-paced and infectious odes like ‘Elegy Of Lust’ and ‘From The Scars’ trading blows with more punchy riff monsters like ‘To The End’ and the hectic thrill ride ‘Born On Cold Ash’, all the while the stream of virtuoso brilliance flowing from Smirnoff‘s keys and Simone‘s guitars is utterly undeterred.
What might well have been the end of this band has instead proven to be the end of an era that has been followed by a new one that may have the same level of staying power. Jarusso practically marries himself to this band’s core sound without anything resembling a courting period, resulting in an album that can match up to almost everything in this band’s extensive discography, and everyone else involved pulls their weight in the most exemplary way imaginable.
It’s the sort of album that has a strong initial impact, but is so chock full of ideas delivered in such a rapid succession that it’ll likely require at least half a dozen listens to full comprehend; a sort of grower that is also a shower, so to speak. In the absence of any studio output by Elegy over the past 20 years and other outfits of a similar persuasion like Lanfear and Artension either going defunct of being similarly unproductive in the studio of late, Eldritch and fellow Italians DGM appear poised to be the standard-bearers of European power/prog, and Eldritch may well have just gotten the edge if this incarnation of the band has staying power.
Released By: Scarlet Records
Release Date: November 17th, 2023
Genre: Progressive / Power Metal
- Handful of Sand (Right or Wrong)
- Born on Cold Ash
- Elegy of Lust
- To the End
- Wings of Emptiness
- From the Scars
- Lost Days of Winter
- Black Bedlam
- Forgotten Disciple
Order “Innervoid” HERE.
Veteran Italian power/progressive metal visionary outfit Eldritch parts with cofounder and original vocalist Terrence Holler after more than 30 years, then subsequently power forward without missing a beat with a new front man and the same winning formula on their latest and 13th studio LP.