Review Summary: This is a very respectable release that exemplifies what traditional progressive metal has to offer. This album takes you on a journey through life and death, space and time, killer riffs and technical instrumental solos.
The term Eidolon according to Dictionary.com means an idealized person or thing, but alternatively means a specter or phantom. This is an aptly named album as it is dedicated to the death and passing of a fellow musician and a close friend. However, rather than create an album with an overbearing melancholy tone, the band goes for a sound that is energetic and uplifting; an album that is a celebration of life rather than the mourning of death.
The band Lunar was formed by longtime friends Alex Bosson (drums/percussion) and Ryan Erwin (guitars/vocals) in 2013 Sacramento, California whose goal was to write eye-opening, genre-defying music. However, through the course of the early stages of their band, they struggled to form a stable lineup for the band as 17 different members had participated in the recording of their 2017 debut album, Theogony. Fast forward to the year 2018, unforeseen happenstances occur and the cofounder of Lunar, Ryan Erwin, unexpectedly passes away.
Without the band’s previous vocalist, Alex Bosson is left to carry on his friend’s legacy, and little to say, he does no less than an exceptional job in Lunar’s 2019 album Eidolon. With a new band lineup and guest appearances from well-known musicians throughout the progressive metal scene, including Sam Vallen (Caligula’s Horse), Richard Henshall and Diego Tejeida (Haken), Ben Karas (Thank You Scientist), the musicians create an album that largely exceeds expectations.
Musically speaking, this album shows very creative and surprisingly mature songwriting abilities, as song lengths range from three to just over 12 minutes. The album is filled with a variety of different instrumental solos that honestly fill the listening experience with a spectrum of color and emotion. But mark my words, this album does not overstep its boundaries as it is technical enough to draw listeners in but not too much to the point where it is overly wankery. Such a thing cannot be said for quite a bit of newer progressive metal releases that focus too much on djenty instrumental solos rather than its core metal fundamentals.
Eidolon does not conform to the modern stereotype of the genre as its influences are more strongly rooted in traditional progressive metal bands, and in this album, their influences are quite plentiful. If one were to consciously make a counter of every progressive metal influence they hear in this album, especially in the riffs, they would probably lose track. One can find strong shades of Blackwater Park era Opeth, early Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Tool, Mastodon, Psychotic Waltz, Haken, etc., but these are all combined under one concept of traveling through life and death as well as space and time.
In judging this album overall, it could definitely use a touch up on its audio mixing, but it excels where great music should: in its composition. From song to song, there is a complementary balance between aggressive growls, distorted guitar tones and melodic vocal harmonies, and acoustic sections that are reminiscent of what Opeth used to incorporate in their songwriting. Lunar’s overall skill in their musicianship, in this album in particular, is stellar. They provide an aesthetic, that admittedly has been done before but is done well: combining death and mortality with a cosmic, spacey atmosphere. Overall, this is a great album that is a gem for any person interested in progressive metal.