Eternal Champion – “Ravening Iron” (No Remorse Records)
Battle Helm Rating
The highly anticipated new studio album of the greatest new epic heavy metal band! Boastful words indeed I hear you cry, until that is, you realize that you’re talking about Eternal Champion – who are indeed seen as the forerunners of today’s new generation of epic heavy metal bands!! Named after a Michael Moorcock character and themselves influenced by the likes of Manilla Road, Morgana Lefay and in the heavy, stomping sound Candlemass, Eternal Champion are made up of members from other well recognized underground bands like Sumerlands, War Hungry, Stone Digger and Power Trip. They’ve already issued one album, “The Armour Of Ire” that’s garnered a rabid following in Europe and the USA, not forgetting performances at Keep It True, Up The Hammers and Frost and Fire festivals, making them one of the most sought after bands around – and when you listen to the music, you understand why. Opening to the anvil pounding from vocalist Jason Tarpey, who’s also a blacksmith by trade (!), the thick rusty sword riffs and fiery true metal melodies bring forth the epic splendor on ‘A face In The Glare’, as Tarpey’s high but soulful singing adds a minstrel like touch to really bring out the fantasy aspect in keeping to the superb cover art by legendary Ken Kelly (Kiss “Destroyer”, Rainbow “Rising” and Manowar “Kings of Metal”). Indeed, the medieval melodies are simply overflowing on the galloping title track ‘Ravening Iron’, where the syrup heavy riffs graced by a melancholic touch are inspired by Tarpey’s book “The Godblade”, and in particular, the final chapter dealing with a warrior’s courage in the face of death. Powering in on ‘Skullseeker’ with its catchy ultra heavy riffs, pounding drums and epic tremolo solos contrasted by Tarpey’s soul this time adding a mystical feel to the song enhanced by trippy melodies and keyboard atmospherics, you can almost picture the warrior, as told in “The Godblade”, killing with such ferocity that even the female enemy commander he is facing is so turned on by him, that they end up having sex on a pile of dead bodies ha ha! With drummer / keyboardist Arthur Rizk, whose engineering and mixing talents have seen him also work with Cavalera Conspiracy, Cirith Ungol, Sacred Reich, Integrity and Night Demon (among many others), also bringing in his producing and mastering talents to this tremendous sophomore, you can believe that the justifiably named Eternal Champion are not just top of their game on this sterling album, but indeed the epic true metal genre!