Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Eternal Elysium - Share

Eternal Elysium's follow-up to the well-regarded Spiritualized D debut gets closer and more intimate with an engagingly universal vintage rock sound versus the hammerheaded stoner vibe of the '00 debut. And the fact that this power trio is Japanese brings a much needed exotic take on things, Eternal Elysium looking at what is a very western style through the kaleidoscope of the east's odd relationship with all things American. There are a variety of stylistic offerings on this thing, from garage, through southern, through hints of new wave and industrial, through time-suspending psychedelia, the band throwing all sorts of curves track after track, while remaining at the core, a sludgy stoner rock band. And underscoring the variety, Yukito Okazaki sings nasty to nice, also obfuscating with effects drippy to distorted. Oceans away from Sigh in terms of loopiness, Eternal Elysium is nevertheless another Japanese band coming up with a wide palette of musics within their chosen subgenre.
Rating 7.5

Valley's Eve - Deception Of Pain

Mystic Prophecy's R.D. Liapakis and Martin Albrecht team up to make this third Valley's Eve album one of those that restores your faith in the power aspect of power metal. First off, Liapakis is blessed with one of those mid to high voices that is so perfectly metal, distinctive, rich, like an underground '80s dude... hard to explain, except that he rules. Shoulder to shoulder is guitarist Frank Pane, who unleashes riff after cagey riff (In Your Head: yeah!), fiercely recorded, exacting and out for blood. And it's not a one-trick pony, the band writing at all speeds, Albrecht adding tasteful yet only occasional keyboards, this record being moreso about Liapakis' impassioned vocals, somewhere between Jorn Lande, Ronald Dio, Mark Boals and Messiah Marcolin in delivery (no, beyond; please proceed to 'The Sun'), and that slamming guitar tone.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5