If you were to ask me about my favourite subgenres of metal, melodic death metal would probably not come to my mind very quickly. In fact, I could count the amount of melodic death metal bands I listen to on the regular on one hand. And the problem is not per se the style of music itself but rather the lack of creativity and personality of most of the bands associated with it. The bigger names keep making the same album over and over again, and the newer acts tend to copy the bigger names. Of course, there are exceptions. And if I come across such an exception, chances are I am going to love it. Exceptional, good melodic death metal albums are rare, but worth looking for because the genre has a lot of potential – if not hindered by lazy songwriting – to be emotionally engaging and musically engrossing. If you made it this far through this text you probably already have an idea where I am going with all of this: Eternal Storm is an exceptional band, Come The Tide an exceptional album.
The debut album by this Spanish band is easily one of the better death metal albums of the year – melodic or else. Spanning over almost 60 minutes, Come The Tide is an epic and mesmerizing album rich in elegance and creativity. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling this melodic death metal, Eternal Storm are clearly influenced and inspired by many more different styles of music all of which can be identified in the album. However, instead of coming off as a forced or ill-composed mixture, everything just fits and flows naturally. The songwriting is at times quite adventurous and progressive – most notably on the two-part album opener “Through The Wall of Light” that comes with an Opeth-ian atmosphere, a saxophone solo and a ton of exciting and beautiful melodic riffing. All these elements are combined in a naturally flowing, logical and harmonious way, nothing sounds out-of-place or unfitting. In that sense, “Through The Wall of Light” is symptomatic for the whole album.
Throughout the record, new stylistic elements are introduced, such as post-black-esque melancholic atmospheres, dreamy synths, blackened tremolo picking, folksy acoustic guitar sections and melodramatic spoken-word segments. While the different musical elements and the progressive and natural way these elements are combined were definitely the most striking aspects of the album upon my first time listening to it, they are not the most important part. What makes melodic death metal melodic death metal if not the melodies? And this album has got them. The melodies and riffs on this thing are abundant, beautiful and memorable, only occasionally scratching on the cheese many bands in the genre so often tend to fully embrace. The effectiveness of the melodies is also due to the tasteful balance the band finds between melodicism and aggression.
The good songwriting and the overall creativity of the band is supported by a splendid execution. Every instrument is played with precision and elegance, leaving nothing to be desired. The vocals are great and fairly versatile, which is a quality I have come to appreciate a lot in death metal.
The only thing keeping this album from being a definitive AOTY contender is the length that becomes noticable especially during the second half of the album where there are a few points where things could be tightened up a little. The band goes for a doomier sound towards the end of the album and while I like the atmospheres and riffs (“The Scarlet Lake” has some of the best ones), some parts could be shortened or cut out. Apart from this complaint, I really have nothing negative to say about Come The Tide. I am definitely going to play it many more times this year, in between all the exciting upcoming releases. The replay-factor is definitely there.
Whether you like melodic death metal or not, this album is an essential entry in 2019’s musical catalogue and absolutely worth your time. In mixing “typical” melodic death metal with a vast array of interesting elements, tied together by logical and interesting songwriting, Eternal Storm have created a beautiful and pretty impressive debut album, making them a very promising band you should definitely keep an eye on.