Every tepid, derivative power metal act I’ve ever reviewed for this humble blog, pay attention: This is how it’s done. Please, for the love of Turilli, don’t take this to mean that Eunomia‘s The Chronicles of Eunomia Part I, the brainchild of one Peter Danielsen, is a sterling example of a refined power metal release; mimicking this record’s technical foibles would be, on all fronts, an objectively bad idea. That being said, if the Voice ov Velveeta compels you, regardless of your limitations, to wring that last elusive drop of liquid cheese from the shriveled tit of Helloween, yank that fucker with all your might. If you refuse to deal in half measures with the same tonedeaf earnestness as Eunomia, you may not end up with something good, but you may produce something that is at once extremely passionate and thoroughly goddamned hilarious.
So earnest is The Chronicles of Eunomia, in fact, that Danielsen’s unabashed love for his influences almost tricked me into legitimately liking it. Following in the footsteps of his brother Marius’ Legend of Valley Doom, Eunomia (which shares a conceptual universe with Marius’ project) aims for the ambitious scope pioneered by early Avantasia as a standard power metal record starring an impressive cast of genre vets. Some of these pulls are impressively high profile, especially the inclusion of a full track vocal contribution from Alessandro Conti (Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody), but the oblivious enthusiasm which Danielsen exudes in executing every conceivable genre trope is the real show stealer. From big, cheese ball choruses to hammy narrations and eleventh hour key changes, The Chronicles of Eunomia is a seventy minute parade of cliches, and Danielsen clearly relishes every second of derivative indulgence.
The earnest trope recycling might be respectable were not the lyrics and performances laughably bad, but boy, The Chronicles of Eunomia is really fucking funny. With opening lines like “The crystal sword is hidden / To search for it is forbidden / The sword’s too strong to control / We need it to achieve our goal,” you know exactly what to expect for the rest of the record. Song topics fall into one of three categories (We Will Fight the Bad Thing, We Are Fighting the Bad Thing, or We Fought the Bad Thing), all delivered with lyrics so plainly matter-of-fact that they evoke an unintentional parody of [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire]. While the lyrics are bad, the instrumental execution is astonishingly sloppy; tracks like “Eternity” highlight lead guitars which uncontrollably rush ahead of the accompanying instruments, while the drums are perpetually lethargic, sluggish as though the drummer is struggling to keep up while drowning in a pile of Lord of the Rings omnibuses.
I have a theory that The Chronicles of Eunomia‘s sound was engineered to help mask these instrumental foibles, but all this muddy mess has succeeded in is making the instruments sound aesthetically awful. The guitars are thin and wimpy, the skins sound synthetic and murky, and the mix in general heavily prioritizes the vocal cast over the instrumentals, though that may be for the best as Eunomia can barely muster anything that passes for a legitimate riff. If this album weren’t such an atrocious listening experience, I might actually enjoy at least a couple of these songs; “Glory of the King” is mildly entertaining in the way its melodies recall Valley of the Damned-era DragonForce, while the chorus of “Last Stand” is so big and dumb I can’t help but crack a smile, but the amateurish production ensures that I will never want to return to either of these pieces.
I take no pleasure in ragging on Eunomia, as it feels less like an ill-conceived trainwreck than a huge undertaking that was far too ambitious for its creator’s capabilities. At the same time, with the other Danielsen brother having executed more or less the same thing three years ago with far better results, I’m baffled as to why this record is so deeply flawed, especially with Marius helping out on guitars and vocals. Sloppiness is endemic to The Chronicles of Eunomia, spreading to every facet of its execution and poisoning the occasional fun tracks and moments before they can ever convince the listener that there might be something here worth hearing. To potential buyers: you’re better off waiting for part two. To Peter Danielsen: Invest in a decent producer and try again.