Review Summary: Doing the same thing, only better this time.
Time has shown that a new Neaera album won’t bring anything new to the table – we know what we’ll get with each release from this German metalcore band, but will it actually be memorable this time around? That’s the question for most critics of this Heaven Shall Burn
-esque quintet. A thick, dense wall of guitars coupled with passionate battle vocals and tortured screams are always cool, but will we actually be able to sit through the whole of the album? Will the chaos and war become monotonous for us again on Forging The Eclipse
, like it was on the four Neaera albums that preceded it?
Okay, first off last year’s Neaera album, Omnicide: Creation Unleashed
, really sucked. It took everything that was holding Neaera back in their career up until that point to an even lower level – hell, we are talking zero inspiration here in its conception process and in how it played out as an album. Other than the anticipation coming from the fans, not much hype is being raised for this year’s Forging The Eclipse
, which is understandable; but let’s just say that this German metalcore band have brought a few surprises to the table, relatively speaking. You still have Neaera here – no doubt about that, but something about Forging The Eclipse
actually makes it worth listening to all
the way through.
For a Neaera album, that’s pretty awesome. Even a lot of the fans have to admit that Neaera have a way of writing the same song ten to twelve times in a row for each new release, but on Forging The Eclipse
, that’s thankfully not the case. For starters, and as a little side note, it seems that the band have taken another cue from Heaven Shall Burn
and have included some foreboding, solemn instrumentals to compliment and contrast the chaos of the band’s main wall-of-guitars formula: “The Forging” and “Certitude”. These pieces work to add varied dimensions to the band's sound, as well as give a new flow to the album, making the louder moments sound all the more louder and full of tension – listen to Heaven Shall Burn
’s “Awoken” instrumental sync into “Endzeit” for a prime example of the contrast and how it works.
The main change that fans and critics will notice on Forging The Eclipse
, however, is in the increased use of melody and how distinct the tracks sound from each other - once again, relatively speaking. The album does have a tendency to bleed together on occasion if listeners are not too attentive, just like the Neaera albums that preceded Forging The Eclipse
had as well, but this year the effect is not as prevalent. A strong foundation of melody gives highlights “Heaven’s Descent” and “Arise Black Vengeance” something for listeners to come back to and remember the second time around. And while main vocalist Benjamin Hilleke is not as strong sounding in the two vocals styles he uses when compared to Heaven Shall Burn
’s Marcus Bischoff, the Neaera vocalist does add some much needed variety in the songs when he changes from his high pitch howl to low growl roar.
Keeping the attention of listeners throughout a whole album has always been a problem for Neaera, but on Forging The Eclipse
, the German quintet are seeing a move to a realm with more memorable opportunities for their wall-of-guitars formula. Yes, this is in some ways just another Neaera album, but it is an improvement over the band’s past work as well, especially last years’ Omnicide: Creation Unleashed
, even though, instrumentally, the band remains largely the same. There are more melodic guitar lines throughout the tracks, however – and this is certainly to Neaera’s benefit, showing signs that in the future the band may be able to craft even more memorable songs that listeners will come back to for intensity and
familiarity. They’re not there yet, but Neaera have shown improvement on Forging The Eclipse
, proving their critics wrong in the process and showing signs of hope for their future.