Eternal Silence // The Arsonist
Rating: 4.0/5.0 —Smokin’!
Label: Unsigned
Websites: eternaldeath.com | myspace.com/eternalsilence
Release Dates: Available now on Band Camp | iTunes, etc., 26th of March | Out on CD this summer

Eternal Silence is a death metal band that hails from New London, Wisconsin and has been around as long as this Angry Metal Guy has been into death metal. They started out in the late 90s, released a record in 98, an EP again in 2002 and then went silent, though they’ve been playing shows around Wisconsin and Illinois consistently. Like so many bands, they’ve suffered from issues surrounding labels, studios and band members, but somehow the core of this group has managed to stick together and stick it out. Sometimes stubbornness is really the best friend of a musician. Eternal Silence has shown that years of patience and hard work can pay off.

The Arsonist is the culmination of an 8 year wait and, while it’s a hell of a lot shorter than I would’ve expected after 8 years of silence, the record is smoking (no puns intended). Playing death metal in the style of Vader and Impious and rooted in the very foundations of the death metal scene, these cheeseheads have written 6 heavy, engaging and all around kick ass tracks. Normally one would try to highlight the best tracks on this record in order to explain what it was exactly that one liked or didn’t like: but to be honest every track on here is stand out. The excellent blend of old school death metal song writing, i.e., a little bit more verse/chorus than a lot of modern bands, with melodic riffing and no fear of groove results in evenly, smartly written tracks with a lot of dynamics that keep the listener hooked in for the entire length of the record.

The band is tight and long gone are the weaknesses that marred the 2002 release The Dawning of Chaos. While that previous EP was well-recorded, the rhythm section was tricky and weak at times and the writing of the tracks was a bit repetitive at times. The time down, and lots of live shows has definitely done Eternal Silence a lot of good and The Arsonist exhibits the kind of tightness and punch that one expects from good death metal. The situation on the low end especially has markedly improved since the 2002 EP and it’s nice, too, that the production leaves room for “new” bassist and bearded fiend Jake Fredrick to shine on nearly every track.

As you can tell, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses on The Arsonist. Probably the most stand out is that some of the riffing on “Centuries of Blood” is weak, and that’s probably the weakest track on the record. But honestly, the biggest weakness might be that this record is a few years too late. While the tracks here are strong, The Arsonist isn’t exactly blazing new trails. I’m sure that the well-schooled fan of death metal, the type that’s always looking for new stuff, could write this record off as being “rehashed” and could argue that case. Eternal Silence isn’t exactly coining “The Wisconsin Sound” or anything. They’re just making good, honest death metal that will induce headbanging and the throwing of horns. No pretentiousness involved.

While pretty well known among the scene in the Midwest, Eternal Silence has suffered from a lack of attention outside of their home turf. The Arsonist will give them a chance to expand their audience, touring territory and hopefully get picked up by someone who can really give them what they need, or at least help them expand in the whole DIY field that so many bands are taking these days. Fans of death metal of almost any stripe should check these guys out as they have music that could appeal to almost everyone but the most entrenched fan of certain sub-genres. This Angry Metal Guy is planning on spinning the hell out of this record, anyway.

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