An epic throwback to the early days
Canada's Antiquus mix progressive and power metal into a style that can only be described as epic. They blend a distinctly 80's heavy metal sound with their own contemporary take on the power and progressive genres.
It's hard to be certain without the benefit of an accompanying booklet but from what I can gather from what I hear of the lyrics Eleutheria (Greek for freedom) is a concept album based around some kind of naval inspired story. Frankly, I didn't have the time or the inclination to try to dissect the story but it definitely has something to do with the captain of a boat.
Eleutheria was a tough nut for me to crack. Even during my first listen I could tell that there was something good going on but it took a few more listens to make a connection with what I was hearing. This is an album that releases its charm very slowly and reluctantly.
Unlike a lot of others in this genre there isn't a lot of flashy guitar work on display. In fact it's not that complex an album in some respects. Sure there are some nice melodies and arpeggios but it's not the wank-a-thon that a lot of power metal is. This is probably why I warmed to the album as much as I did. The band seem more interested in working on the atmosphere of the album and in this they have succeeded. Catchy melodies, strong rhythms and a light production all work to make Eleutheria sound grand and epic in scope.
Vocalist Jesse White was the stand out performer for me with his very strong range and sense of melody. He isn't particularly distinctive in his sound but he is very good at what he does.
For all of the work that has gone into this album there are a few disappointing sections where things sound sloppy. Once in a while the drums sound a little off the beat. This is especially evident during the closing 10 or 15 seconds of album opener Oh Captain, My Captain where the kicks are completely out of time. Ultimately this isn't really a massive problem because these occurrences are rare but it is big enough to be noticed.
I have little doubt that fans of power metal or progressive metal will lap this album up because it is a no nonsense throwback to the early days with just enough modern influence to keep things interesting.
(Cruz del Sur Music)