Eternal Helcaraxe - Against All OddsI read an interview with Eternal Helcaraxe  prior to listening to the band’s latest album “Against All Odds”. The band member that was interviewed stated that their name came from Middle Earth. The interview also stated that the band played black metal and was Irish. The Lord of the Rings reference immediately raised my hackles because I fucking hate the LOTR. Both the movies and books bored the pants off of me. I thought for sure the album was going to be rife with cheese and that I would hate it. With trepidation I sat down to listen and was pleasantly surprised as “Against All Odds” is a very good album.

The album opens with a beautiful instrumental called ‘Claim Your Place with the Gods’ which leads into ‘One Stands Still Here’, which caused me to pause my MP3 player to check I was listening to the right album, as this totally shattered any stereotypes I had about these guys. The band I thought I was going to listen to was a bunch of croaky hobbit lovers. But what I was listening to instead was a cross between Gorgoroth and Amon Amarth.

Yes, you read the above right. Instead of opting for a completely “evil” and “troo” vibe, Eternal Helcerax has crafted a refreshing and unique sound which combines Swedish melodic death metal with black metal. Perhaps this is being done elsewhere,  if so, I’ve never heard it and I listen to at least 50 albums a month.

The whole album is so unbelievably and unexpectedly good with rousing riffs and majestic harmonies. If you’re into Amon Amarth or “Whoracle” era In Flames you will absolutely lap this stuff up.

One thing of particular comment is that much like Amon Amarth, whose name I’ve now mentioned about a thousand times in this review, the band does not come across as gimmicky despite having the Tolkien name and battle lyrics. Instead, they come across as genuine and in some cases the songs sound downright inspiring. Almost like I was getting ready for some epic battle to take place on the battlefields in Europe.

For those Amon Amarth fans who could never get into black metal, check this out and see if it turns your crank. As for highlights, I really can’t pick anything specific as the album is so good. This is album is already on my list of best of 2012.  Check it out and support the band by buying a copy of the album! You won’t be disappointed.

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