Eternal Flight is a more varied creature than most that have been crawling around in the prog/power underground for the last 20 years. Whether as itself or as Dream Child, Eternal Flight has been slowly leaking albums since 1996, with Retrofuture being number six in total and fourth under the new moniker. Certainly better acquainted with a darker lyrical and melodic approach than most of their “power metal” cousins, the band also plays a more sedate, slow-to-mid-paced flavor of occasionally slightly proggy heavy/power. This is teamed with greater emphasis on tonal and harmonic contrast and screamed vocal punctuation than definitive melody lines or riffs (something I associate with bands like Manticora). I reviewed the last release, Diminished Reality, Elegies, and Mysteries (heretofore referred to as D.R.E.A.M.S) back in 2011 on my own time, and liked it reasonably well. Years later, though I rarely revisit it, I can still recall a couple of its tracks without trouble, and so I came to Retrofuture with mild hopes for an equal experience.

Singer Gerard Fois has a voice that reminds me of Ian Parry (Elegy, Eternity’s End) at times, though Eternal Flight’s delivery is much different and less speed metal-infused, so that further comparison to Parry’s bands isn’t really possible. Instead, songs like “Machine God” and “Labyrinth” suggest a fairly heavy dose of prog influence that, when blended with Fois’ screams, might be more analogous with early/mid-era Lanfear than anything else I can think of. The band’s pared-back, rhythmically focused and often strangely dissonant songwriting style makes comparisons difficult – and honestly, that goes for memorability as well. This behavior is more stark and readily apparent than on D.R.E.A.M.S, which flaunted some lovely ethereal melodicism from time to time. The closest example I can find on Retrofuture is probably “Succubus”, which even (*GASP*) kicks off with a simplistic riff that quickly singles it out as one of the better songs on the album, despite being one of the most basic.

Let’s call out “Nightmare King II,” which is a direct successor in name, feel, length, and general attitude to one of the best and most unique tracks from D.R.E.A.M.S. Seeing this on the track-list made me cautiously optimistic, but also more than a little worried, as sequels don’t often go down well in metal. This one legitimately sounds like a power metal track…once you cut through a couple of minutes of fluff. This time around, however, things are just too basic, the transitions a little too jarring, and at the risk of sounding like one of our much grimmer writers, just not as authentically bleak and sinuous as the original1. As we all know, a half-cocked imitation is worse than an original flop, and this one clearly fits the definition of the former.

All round, Retrofuture just doesn’t cut it. Almost everything falls flat except for perhaps the overall production and sound. Where are the riff-driven hooks and scorching solos from “The Tower” and where’d the tranquil melodic shimmer of “Fantasea” evaporate to? The best songs here, like “Succubus” and “Danger Calling,” are substandard when sized against the band’s history. Almost all the material on Retrofuture is less ambitious and less inventive, but also can’t seem to work itself up to deliver anything truly interesting. It’s as if the band decided to scale things back and write an album with good fundamentals – except that when they took off the gloves, they found themselves fumbling with inexpert digits and faulty muscle memory.

It saddens me to say that this album is completely skippable. Devoted fans might find a few things to appreciate, since the music is not far from the earlier days of Positive Rage and Under The Sign Of Will (those albums can also be passed over by the general power/prog public), but the brief burst of realized potential exhibited on D.R.E.A.M.S looks not to be repeated. Disappointment is relative, but this is not something I’d choose to spin again.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: eternalflight.wixsite.com | facebook.com/eternalflightband
Releases Worldwide: November 17th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Read As: not brvtal enough! – Steel
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  • Wes Allen

    Boy oh boy, is that artwork bad (even for power metal)! I think it’s the eagle head that really takes this one to the next level of cringe.

  • So much crappy music lately. When will it end?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      NEVER!

      (by the way, that was James Hetfield´s “NEVER!” scream from Blackened)

      • Fairly appropriate considering the production quality of that album.

  • GardensTale

    That cover makes me want to stab someone. Anyone.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Pick me…..I can’t stand it either.

      • GardensTale

        Hadn’t actually listened to it yet. Jesus Christ this is awful Massacre Records strikes again!

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Could use a pair of wolves tbh

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Band photo – Battlestar Gallactica faces budget cuts in new season on Netflix.

    • WhamBamSam

      I was going to go with “Cheap pest control themed porno.”

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Eeeeeeeek

      • Rolderathis

        “The Experminator”

  • Nukenado

    Steven Wilson is in their band and they still screwed up!

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      That’s what I thought too lol

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Quite the likeness. If that’s not Steven Wilson, it must be his sister.

  • herrschobel

    looks like shit…check….sounds like shit….check … all is in balance

    • Thatguy

      As ever.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      … and a river of shit runs through it.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Nice to see you’re still around Madam X

    • She is very much around, but she’s been too busy with promo managing to write much. She’ll be back though.

  • RuySan

    Not only is the concept of the cover idiotic, but the execution is also terrible. It looks like something from a geocities conspiracy theories website from 97. I just don’t get how a band with 5 guys gave the ok to this. I suppose only the older un-hip one has any decision power.

    • Thais Munk

      ” geocities conspiracy theories website from 97″ Thank you! I couldn’t figure out what it reminded me of! :D

  • Solrac Avan

    And I thought Stratovarius featuring Ecco the Dolphin on the Infinite cover was bad…

  • The Akerstache

    I really don’t understand how this happens. This is a combined effort from five people to write music, and somehow not even one of them figures out that their music has all the positive qualities of a *sees Massacre Records* OOOOOOOHHHHHH I GET IT NOW!

  • Marc Rikmenspoel

    It’s sad. Back when, those two Dream Child albums were actually pretty good (I might be the only person here who owns them both). But those had Dominique Lerquine on guitar, and he left to become Luca Turilli’s sidekick.

    • Swordborn

      I have them as well, and I agree that they’re superior to all the Eternal Flight work save “D.R.E.A.M.S”

  • Paul McGuire

    Generic high pitched power metal vocals. Check. Crappy mix check. Yet somehow I can hear the background vocalists. Strange. Yup very skippable.

    • Swordborn

      Hey Paul, good to see you here and still reading my reviews! Did you follow from BWM, or have you been an AMG reader all this time as well? Regardless, glad to see you!

      • Paul McGuire

        I gotta find my information out somewhere of what is being released. So much good music out there but if you aren’t in the particular bubble you miss it. I can’t stand the typical death metal that is more common here but you can usually tell by the cover art if it is one style or the other. If it wasn’t for this site I wouldn’t have known about the new Nocturnal Rites album and that I should listen to it.

        • Swordborn

          Certainly. This is Dan, formerly head editor/reviewer at Black Wind Metal – we had some exchanges on Facebook. I’m AMG’s latest power metal guy, so there will be more (and more positive) power metal coverage here in the future.

  • Digital Violence

    They couldn’t even be bothered to spend a tenner on a domain name.

  • Hideous destructor

    Aw. Was hoping for something hilariously awful, but the embedded track is just exceptionally dull.