There are very few sub-genres of metal that I haven't heard. Avant-garde metal would be one. Full blown industrial metal would be another. And finally, there's gothic metal. For one reason or another, I had never felt the need to give the metal genre a chance. That is, until I heard Echoes of Eternity. Formed in Los Angeles, California, the quartet's debut album, The Forgotten Goddess, quite an interesting collection of music. Lead by French-Canadian frontwoman, Francine Boucher, Echoes of Eternity combines the intricacies of progressive metal with the soothing overtures of gothic metal. And while there is a plethora of female fronted gothic metal bands out there, with The Forgotten Goddess, Echoes of Eternity gives listeners a very good reason to choose their offerings over those of their contemporaries.
The most striking aspect of Echoes of Eternity is the efforts of vocalist Francine Boucher. While surely not the most original in the metal scene, her relaxed technique is one of the largest factors in the atmosphere of the band's music. Francine has a pretty powerful voice, not in terms of aggression but rather in the way her efforts stick out among the mix. The standout track, Voices in a Dream, is probably where Boucher is at her strongest. Her vocal lines really carry the song, be it in the chorus, verse work, or when ever else she's required to lend her talents. It's really something you have to hear for yourself. However, the well doesn't run dry past this point. Underneath Francine's soothing vocals can be found the more technically impressive aspect of the music. With lone guitarist, Brandon Patton taking the instrumental reigns, listeners of the band's debut album are subject to both complicated, melodious guitar work and simpler, heavy riff-work. Each of the full length songs feature varying amounts of flashy guitar lines, especially during bridges and instrumental sections of the band's music. Fans of acts from Into Eternity to Dream Theater should enjoy the musical efforts of the band (though Echoes of Eternity's music is a bit more tame), as they are quite infectious.
The Forgotten Goddess features several standout tracks. The aforementioned Voices in a Dream and the title track, The Forgotten Goddess, are two of these songs. While instrumentation is still rather excellent in these tracks, it is hear where Echoes of Eternity's singer has her most powerful performances. While Patton's lyrics aren't exactly the strongest you'll ever hear, with lines such as "I hear you…calling me / Just like the voices in a dream," or "Memories…haunting me / They echo through eternity," with Boucher's angelic vocal efforts it doesn't really matter much, as her voice definitely enhances the experience. The album's longest track, at 6 minutes 16 seconds, The Kingdom Within, is one of the songs which showcase the rest of the band in top form. Both acoustic and electric passages can be found intertwining throughout the track, and they pack quite the punch, both on an emotional level and on a technical level. Each of these tracks are quite representative of the band's sound, and should impress fans of this type of metal.
With 2007's The Forgotten Goddess, Echoes of Eternity definitely has themselves a strong debut record. Fusing gothic metal with progressive metal, they manage to create a sound that combines heaviness with relaxing melody, complicated, yet controlled and tasteful performances from the musicians, and soothing vocals from singer, Francine Boucher. Echoes of Eternity's first in what will hopefully be a long string of albums, is both powerful and emotional, as tracks such as Towers of Silence or Garden of the Gods reveals to listeners, and is a great listen for any fan of metal. I would especially recommend to those into the gothic metal, as it should help ease in those not totally familiar with the genre. Well, it did for me anyways. Definitely keep an eye on this band.
Voices in a Dream
The Forgotten Goddess
The Kingdom Within
Towers of Silence