Everyone who has read a couple of my Folk Metal reviews knows that I am a sucker for chanting and male choirs (what some people call “Viking choirs” or deep voices going “woh-oh-oh-oh”). I almost always feel that choirs and chants help creating atmosphere and variation in songs. On “The Eternal Battle” however, I am not at all pleased about the chanting. It feels both overused and often awkwardly placed and executed. Instead of adding folky force to the songs, it takes away built-up momentum.
Luckily, DOOMSWORD have other qualities. As always, what “The Eternal Battle” offers is Epic Doom Metal with a lot of crunch and drive forward. The main song structures are very good and pave the way for lead guitars melodies, riffing and vocals. This is a band that always places thundering drums and a crushing bass at the foundation of the songs. I like that style, as I feel that it always lends something cool to a song, even if the melodic section hasn’t had its best day. Regrettably, sometimes that is needed on this record.
While working with a very good main concept, I feel that DOOMSWORD may have lacked a few ideas on this record. The hooks in the riffing aren’t as frequent as on masterpieces like “Resound The Horn”. As mentioned, the choirs have been better, as well. This is still a good record, though. DOOMSWORD are too much of quality band to let the listener down, even when all aspects aren’t working perfectly. The vocalist Deathmaster’s charismatic voice and the band’s powerful assault guarantees a high minimum quality level. Also, the second half of the album works better than the first. Despite the persistent chanting, the “Battle At The End Of Time” marks a turn in the album with its epic atmosphere. At the end of the album come the two best songs, “Song Of The Black Sword” and “Warlife”, with the nice interlude “The Time Has Come” between them.
The production is nice and clear, even if I enjoy even more of a regressive sound when listening to this genre. ATLANTEAN KODEX’s “The Golden Bough” is a good example of how it’s done. Also, even though Deathmaster’s singing comes through very well at the front of the mix, I feel that some of the power in his voice was conveyed better on older albums.
Despite my criticism, most of it is based on the excellent albums earlier albums of this band, which this CD is inevitably compared with. With that in mind, fans of this genre are still advised to buy this one, even if I personally hope that DOOMSWORD’s next effort will be more like the older albums.
(Online February 8, 2012)