ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW… Their last album "Chaotic Beauty" had been brilliant melodic Death Metal, NOT spawned by the Gothenburg-school, so I had been veeeery eager to hear their latest effort "A Virgin And A Whore", which cover-artist Niklas Sundin already had told me great things about.
Well, they have changed, quite a lot in fact! Their influences have grown a lot broader, just like the sound and they have managed to get beyond the relatively narrow borders of Melodic Death Metal without losing their credibility, no, they are rather distinguishing themselves as a very variable Metal-band.
At the beginning this truly had been a problem for me, because it took a while before I got used to the new sound of the Finns, the opener starts out right away with much reduced heaviness, almost consistent piano/keyboard-support, only the rough vocals of fronter Altti Vetäläinen still reminds one of the early works. That this mixture has its appeal does not show in the very beginning yet, you need a few listens until it unfolds before you.
"Prophetian" also offers us a great mix of calmer sounds and pretty powerful Metal, where the rough vocals fits better than you might have feared in the beginning. And on "The River Flows Frozen" the Gentlemen from the north suddenly unpack clear vocals, to a slow-paced song including a Spanish acoustic guitar, you could almost call this an ETOS-ballad (if you disregard the few deathy vocals that is), but without putting both hands into the gothic pot of sappiness, good one!
Apart from the Death-voice, which can be found on all tracks, the last two remnants of the Death Metal-past of ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW are "Sick, Dirty And Mean" and "Blood Of Hatred". The first one starts quite calm, but then turns into a snotty Melodic Death-track, which rhythmically could also have originated from MOTÖRHEAD and co, and the latter, if less heavy, begins in an almost traditional style, then implementing calmer passages as well, but still is, together with "Sick, Dirty And Mean", the most obvious reminiscence of the past, before "Aeon" closes the album with another very good and balanced track of the "new" ETOS-sound.
Like mentioned before, it takes a little until you get into the new sound and Die-Hard-fans of the very early sound of the Finns won't even have to bother to try out "A Virgin And A Whore", but who does not count himself part of them, will get a very multi-faceted and interesting album, which shows a quite impressive evolution of this band.