In spite of being a highly underrated metal band as they stand (Drummer Shawn Drover is now in Megadeth, so was guitarist Glen Drover but he left for personal reasons), these Canadian power thrashers have it all... Brutal and lightning fast riffage, fret melting guitar shredding, insane rhythms, intelligent lyrics and lyrical concepts and complex song structures. How could these attributes not be modern metal standards? Which is why I cannot understand why a lot of metal heads are so unaware of the devastating potential of Eidolon.
Hailing from Toronto (The same place that brought us veteran rock and metal powerhouses such as Rush, Anvil and Triumph.) Eidolon have quite an extensive back catalogue consisting of 7 full length albums proving that they are anything but a one-off, run-of-the-mill outfit. Playing outstanding metal such as this seems to come naturally to them.
However what I have just said pales in comparison to what I am about to say now...... I have no clue what sign of evil or rite of evil was implemented or loomed rampant the very day brothers and band leaders Shawn and Glen Drover decided to start writing and subsequently recording 2003's Apostles Of Defiance. The title and album cover are only the icing on the cake.
If ever the inner volatility of a Volcanic Hell could be committed to CD, it would most likely sound like this. The result is a molten, red-hot and devastatingly razor sharp onslaught of enraged power thrash metal. There are a very few metal albums which are as evil and bitter as this, something that I haven't seen since Iced Earth's Burnt Offerings (1995). It is also a very unpredictable album to the first hand listener.
From the opening of Scream From Within you just know that there are no holds barred before it launches into an embellished discharge of power blasting. With Volcanic Earth it is revealed how extensive Eidolon's footing is placed in both the power, thrash and progressive metal domains given that it's demonic metal fire is totally backed up by Shawn's relentless polyrhythmic double bass thrash drum rhythms. In fact, relentless double bass drum attacks are rampant throughout this album. Glen's guitar rhythms are amazingly still tight even during the heaviest moments such as this and his solos are very colourful, not only fast.
The track Demoralized was also very surprising for me given that it kicks off with a Bay Area meets Judas Priest-eque style thrash rhythm that goes on through the verse before it breaks down for the chorus. You won't know what hits you if you get to the middle of the song and how long it goes on for. The next track The Test is somewhat similar as far as its arrangement, but less relentless and more melodic. I would definitely say that there is a significant Judas Priest influence together with a more obvious Slayer and Bay Area thrash. A European power metal influence is also very dominant. Finally as far as arrangement goes, progressive rock song structuring cannot be ignored or denied here. Another thing that amazes me is that for all of its destructive meltdown is that there is still room for melody and mid tempo breakdowns.
The tracks Twisted Morality and the title track also show different applications of mid-tempo thrashing, with Twisted Morality being full of melody (Classic metal guitar harmonies to be more precise) to the title track being completely bereft of it and being nothing short of an incarnation of pure, wretched evil to the point where it is almost doom metal-esque.
Pull The Trigger is just a lightning fast excercise in brute force that left me literally floored. Definitely my favourite song on the album. The last track Apathy for a Dying World is the most progressive of the lot. It starts off clean and then undergoes many tempos (some being so unexpected.) keeping the listener interested. It is indeed the most unpredictable song on the album. For me the whole album intelligently delivers violence and force in a sermon of pure evil and hatred.
Unfortunately for all of its metallic prowess there is something lacking and even more unfortunately it is the vocals. They just don't match very well with the brutality of the instrumention. Unlike their old vocalist Brian Soulard who sang on all albums before 2002's Coma Nation, Pat Mulock's vocals seem too monotone and without firepower. This is really the only let down of the album. And the death metal esque vocals on some of the tracks by the way are not Mulock but a guest. Although it would have been with screaming or high pitched vocals, the instrumentation is the real vocals in this album, so much so that it doesn't really matter.
This album maybe a bit too progressive for thrash metal fans who prefer it straight up and maybe a bit too brutal for power metal fans. In spite of that I would still recommend this album to both and to anyone who wants to hear metal as old school as possible but with an intellectual sense of musical arrangement and modern production. It will literally burn you alive.
Please note..... This album is available in two CD formats...The standard CD and the limited edition double CD. The first CD is the album with an enhanced video track (its the Coma Nation video clip). The second CD is a remastered version of Eidolon's debut album Zero Hour (I have this edition.). I am not sure if the enhanced video track is available on the standard CD