A Tunnel to Eden



by AlphaBetaFoxface USER (16 Reviews)
July 26th, 2015 | 57 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A rule by which modern, progressive-death metal albums should be measured.

According to Alustrium's Facebook page, they have been awarded 'My Mom's Favorite Metal Band (2009-Present)'. Alustrium's wonderful mother obviously has a solid taste in music as their second outing is nothing short of brilliant. Showing serious promise in their debut (which has been re-mastered and is free on their Bandcamp page), they have not only exceeded expectations, but shattered any preconceptions as to what the band was capable of. 'A Tunnel to Eden' truly is the definition of a modern, progressive-death metal record; and one that any enthusiasts of death metal, progressive metal, or metal in general should consider for their end-of-year-best-record lists for 2015.

'A Tunnel to Eden' opens with the title track. A brief intro of some beautiful orchestral work leads into a progressive-death onslaught. It is important to note that Alustrium never aim to be the kings of technicality. The riffs used in the opening track and tracks to follow are simply enjoyable, rather than always overly complex. The album is very musically technical, but not just for the sake of being fast. The title track ends with a soaring solo that hearkens back to old-school heavy metal acts and is an utter joy to listen to. The proceeding tracks, 'The Atheist Phenomenon', and 'In His Own Image' follow a similar structure to that of the opening track, but kick away the orchestra. 'In His Own Image' contains one of the most enjoyable solos in the album, boasting technicality and clever uses of melody that rival that of David Davidson's work on Revocation's self-titled. The second half of the album houses all of the epics. With the three closing tracks all being above 9 minutes, as well as being part of a group known as 'The Illusion of Choice', the identity of the album can be found here.

Every member of Alustrium fires on all cylinders in 'A Tunnel to Eden'. A large surprise to many would be the vocals; an effort that almost steals the show from the brilliant performance of the rest of the band. Sticking primarily with a half-and-half combo of low and high growls, the ferocity and placement of lyrics is nothing short but fantastic. Paired with the thought-provoking lyrical content, the vocal performance truly is top-tier.

For a genre of metal so guitar-centric, the kit work in 'A Tunnel to Eden' is masterful. The production on the drums is an absolute pleasure to listen to; every intricacy of play is clearly audible and wholly enjoyable. The drum work is a combination of precise, and fun. It compliments the guitar work perfectly and never feels over-played. The implementation of blast-beats suits each situation brilliantly. Even when placed up against progressive metal legends, this is an undeniably solid effort that shines finesse and skill while leaving room to be silly when necessary.

The guitar work is brilliant. While an increased use of harmonies between the rhythm and lead guitars would have been beneficial (take the intro of 'Procreate Eviscerate' for example: the brief riffs harmonized sound brilliant but are used very sparsely), the riffs are very enjoyable and the progression of songs is always logical enough to sound concise but unique enough to catch listeners by surprise. 'A Tunnel of Eden' is not a string of unrelated riffs and solos that progressive metal has become known for. Each song is identifiable and repeats key themes so the identity of one song never melds into the identity of another. It is a wonderful feat; something even the the more popular bands such as 'Between The Buried And Me' could learn a thing or two from.

This album bleeds fine tuning. From the opening orchestral piece to the closing onslaught, every second is just as exciting as the last. Boasting some of the most enjoyable solos to be heard in recent times as well as some incredibly tasty riff work, 'A Tunnel to Eden' is a must for the shelves of every modern metalhead. While not the technical powerhouses we have seen in the likes of 'Archspire' or 'Beyond Creation, it is still an utterly delicious record that will be remembered by the progressive-death community for years to come. A truly solid album, this is definitely a worthwhile investment.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 26th 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for reading my review! Any feedback and constructive criticism is appreciated!

4.5 for the review, 5.0 personally. An absolute blast of a record. For anyone who wants to check this out, try out 'Slackjaw'. Encompasses the album's sound while being one of the best songs I have heard all year. What do you guys think of the album?

July 26th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

really diggin this. the vocalist reminds me of someone but i can't think of who

Digging: Omar S - Simply

July 26th 2015


...Why is Spongebob Squarepants in the recommended artist section?

July 26th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review, pos'd. Love the part about their mother.

I heard Slackjaw and a couple other bits and pieces and am buying it now. This looks like exactly what I was looking for and exactly why I love Sputnik (so I can find these gems).

Love the lyrical themes. And that album art is mind blowing.

What does a band like Between the Buried and Me who is world famous (I just saw them live two days ago btw) do that other groups like these guys don't? It just gets me wondering because something like this is truly worthy of attention by any progressive death fan.

July 27th 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

@MotokoKusanagi - It is a pretty sick record! Unfortunately I am still learning the metal community so I couldn't say who he sounds similar to but thanks for checking out my review!

@Epicenter - Because 'The Yellow Album' was a milestone in progressive-death metal.

@Dmax28 - Thanks for the pos! This album truly is a gem! And dude, the artwork is insane, definitely one of the prettier album covers of this year. And in terms of BTBAM, I think it is formula and time. They have become well known for a very creative, sporadic approach to songwriting so fans always know what to expect. I am not really a fan of the sporadic approach as songs meld into each other and begin sounding like an EPK of talent; rather than a collection of single-themed songs. But that is just my opinion. I much prefer Alustrium's approach! Once again, thanks for the pos and thanks for checking out the review!

July 27th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Now that I have heard the whole thing, yea this is terrific.

The only thing that could make it a little better would be, like you said, just some more melody/harmony between guitars. There is a good amount of it to be found though.

The voxs are terrific and super catchy, from what I can tell, especially the first half of the album.

Quite a sweet combo of brutal blasts and deep grooves and the album is always evolving in interesting and appropriate ways. Love the little more emphasis on softer sections as the album goes on.

Hard to say exactly but my favorite single track is probably "In His Own Image". One of the grooviest tracks I've heard in awhile and with a slick and more straightforward structure.

This may be more personal than anything since the two albums are different in many ways style wise, but this is the only record since Persefone's Spirtual Migration to give me this great specific vibe.

Cheers mate

July 28th 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Album is pretty amazing. Might 5 this after a few more listens.

July 28th 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

@Dmax28 - Yah, certain sections just needed a little bit of a melodic kick. I tended to add harmonies in my head, something for the band to consider in later releases but if they make anything like this, I am sold already. 'In His Own Image' is one of my top tracks off the album too! And I will have to check out the mentioned record! Always down for new music.

@MalConstant - One of the most easily accessible progressive-death metal records in recent times imo, the replayabillity is phenomenal! And the extremely small use of synth and electronics should allow for this record to age very well! It's a personal 5 from me, I can definitely see myself spinning it a good deal in the future!

October 2nd 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

This album needs more attention

October 9th 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Sooooooooooooo gooooooooooooood. I've been obsessively listening to this album. Also, pos'd.

October 30th 2015


was certain this would have an insurrection review

November 12th 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Listened to this album without reading the lyrics first. Loved it.

Listened to this album while reading the lyrics along with it. Shivers went down my spine for the first time in a long time while listening to a metal album. Great, great album. Gave me hope for progressive (death) metal again.

November 22nd 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe could've used a bit more melody but this album is great. This is Prog Metal in which songs actually sound like songs as opposed to a collection of crazy ideas haphazardly thrown together. The last 3 in particular are spectacular.

Some of the best screams I've heard too.

December 28th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Why is spongebob squarepants being recommended by the reviewer :s

Digging: Selbst - Relatos de Angustia

March 31st 2016


Really impressive.

April 18th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Holy crap this is some great stuff...

April 29th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Lyrics are pretty beast as well, enjoying this album

April 29th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Yea the lyrics on this album are amazing. "The Illusion of Choice" epic is one with just jaw dropping lyrics. Very relatable about the process of living one's whole life.

July 12th 2016


extremely impressive

November 7th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

yea this album rules hard. Wouldnta found it were not for this review, so, props eh!

Digging: Hopesfall - Arbiter

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