In the vein of such bands like Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, and In Flames, many melodic death metal bands out there use one basic formula. We have a really melodic riff to open the song, followed by a heavy, crushing verse. Things take off again during the chorus, bringing the melodies back in full swing, before maybe another verse and chorus of the same format give way to the bridge, where either a guitar solo or calm, soothing break is given to the listener, before a final chorus wraps things up nice and tight. Sure, it works; sure it sounds good, but is it something which will jump off the page? Not quite. Unless you have riffs which absolutely knock the breath out of someone, that format used again and again for 10 or so songs is likely to become tiresome, creating a very unhappy and irritated listener just hanging out in the breeze because the album seemed to take a leave of absence in the creativity department. Sound familiar to any of you?
If you replied yes, then here we have the solution to your boredom. Eucharist is a rather criminally unknown band out of Sweden who formed during the beginning of the Gothenburg scene. Forming in 1989, Eucharist plays melodic death metal which sounds relatively familiar and comfortable, but also has elements which take the listener by storm and throw in amounts of creativity which makes them sound fresh and alive, like they didn’t get bored writing material and didn’t seem to play the same song for half of the album. Their only two full-length albums, A Velvet Creation
go almost completely unknown to those who don’t look to find them, and that is really a shame. The band split up after releasing Mirrorworlds
, ending their short, unrecognized, but impacting career in the scene.
The band faded into oblivion after splitting up, leaving Mirrorworlds
as their last input to the melodic death metal scene. Vastly underrated and barely recognized, it incorporates all of the trademarks of melodic death metal, and manages to thrown in touches of their own. The distorted tone of the guitars contrast the times when they are playing in harmony, giving another dimension to their melodies which is unmistakable and intensely refreshing, something which makes Mirrorworlds
sound like it is more geared toward a desperate, epic atmosphere. To put it simple, Eucharist chooses melody and beauty over brute force and heaviness, and that is one of the first things I look for when it comes to melodic death metal. If you can’t make the death metal melodic, why call it that? Eucharist clearly addresses this and then some, because the band takes a very serious approach to their guitar riffs, solos, and even their instrumentals, which bring to mind those which Beyond The Embrace perform. They are not some filler track to transition from one song to the next; they are an entity of their own, and play like one.
Blending the death metal with the melodies is more complicated that it seems, because you can’t just throw in a melodic riff during the chorus of a song and call it melodic death metal. To me, great melodic death bands are the ones which incorporate some sort of melody into every single aspect of their sound, something which Eucharist does with perfection on almost every track during Mirrorworlds
. The album contains your typical harmonized guitar leads, which take off and soar above the underlying “death metal” feel of the awesome, thickly distorted leads which kick off tracks like “Mirrorworld”, “Bloodred Stars”, and “Dissolving”. It’s quite a feat considering the way the two types of melodies work together, contrasting each other at just the right moments, in a way that it seems like it was meant to be together.
Everything melts together into one mold which creates the following song. The vocals, which sound a bit like a better produced, slightly raspy version of Dan Swano when he played in Edge Of Sanity, go at the pace of the guitars and never sound out of place in comparison to what is going on around them. The only point where this rhythm seems slightly skewed is during the heaviest track “Demons”, when the melodies aren’t as potent and the song is more unforgiving and heavy, with the bass guitar playing a very important role in keeping the song from taking off in the direction of its counterparts. It is a nice change, but a slightly disappointing track considering all of the other songs here.
As epic as melodic death can come, Mirrorworlds
is a pinnacle of atmosphere in terms of a sense of desperation, with the guitars always picking things up and lifting the atmosphere, with the vocals in a sort of battle to try and drag things down. The vocals sound truly sad and depressed, very emotional indeed. Take one listen to “Fallen” and you will know this is something completely different than any other melodic death you’ve heard. The two instrumentals, the 6:36 monster “The Eucharist” and the 5:06 “In Nakedness” show off the instrumental side to the band, with “The Eucharist” having an absolutely insane, drawn-out guitar solo which any listener to this album must not miss. If a band takes this kind of attention and amazing guitar work and directs it at an instrumental, you know there is some immense talent within the minds of the individuals who wrote these songs. The solos and bridges preset even more variety, present in nearly every song; they either slow things down to a depressing crawl or heighten them with a spectacular guitar solo. Everything seems to work with a system of checks and balances, to make sure that no two events during a song are the same, reflecting an attention to detail which I cannot say many other bands possess.
The only real way I can describe the attention to detail in every song throughout Mirrorworlds
is intelligent. It takes songwriting ability which I can’t begin to fathom to know exactly what goes with what and which guitar melodies pair with each other. Eucharist really delivered their masterpiece to the melodic death scene with their last album Mirrorworlds
. Partly because of a lackluster label, the album fell into obscurity, only heard by those who really looked to find it.