Review: “At the Center of It All – Chapter I” by Eternal Closure

Although technically no one from the original line up of Eternal Closure is in the band as it stands today, there remain roots which stretch back as fair as a decade for the Canadian six-piece, female-fronted metal band from Montreal Quebec. In 2014 the bands first EP “Ad Primum” saw guitarist and backing vocalist Olivier Boitel as the sole survivor of multiple line up changes to continue the dream with two albums in 2016’s “Screaming in Silence” and 2019’s “Color of our Fears” continuing to see sea changes in members. Now returning with their most ambitious work to date he is joined by vocalist Katrine Castonguay, long time bass player Jonathan Lauzon, drummer Philippe Boitel and guitarist duo Marine Lacarrière and Phil Lemelin for what they consider their most ambitious work to date. An album split into two halves titled “At the Center of It All“, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Cryptopsy guitarist and sound engineer Christian Donaldson (Shadow of Intent, Despised Icon, The Agonist)…

…which runs to nearly 30 minutes and offers six cuts. It begins with an aching melodic introduction piece contained within “Conflict I” which soothes and the ear but in truth does not prepare the listener for the onslaught that follows. Stepping up through the gears, the band charge through Tech-Metal riffs that cross Metalcore with DJent bounce while brutal unclean vocals cause the ear drums to bleed. The diversity is stunning as the band transcend the barbs of the initial verse to bring a vibrant melodic chorus with clean sung vocal parts that have an unclean backing vocal interweaved in the mix. It’s an incredible start with the band sounding like Trivium fronted by Tatiana “Tati” Shmailyuk of Jinjer fame but there is far more than that here. Continuing in the same vein with the broad “Practice What You Preach“, Eternal Closure bring huge breakdowns and technical leads to astonish while switching the vocals around for different parts to give contrasting thoughts while adding a schizophrenic touch. The power which that adds is immense and the slick transition to a melodic bridge two thirds through offers a moments respite before the band pick up again with flawless style. What has gone into creating these songs is not to be underestimated because the way they have been pieced together is phenomenal. An aching icy piano moment completes the song with a palette cleanser before “Exiled” takes hold, the caustic beastly uncleans few and far between in favour of intertwining male and female clean vocal parts which are nothing short of stunning as the contrast between the two works so well.

The return to the heavy comes with “Dimensions Apart” which finds Castonguay sounding more like Lauren Hart from Once Human, delivering a full throated unclean that punches through the brain stem as the guitars bring plenty of DJent fuelled groove. The band carry it off with swagger and verve, giving you something instantly accessible and that has plenty of its own thing going on in a same, same but different style that is fearfully addictive. The chugging rhythmic beast of “From One Side to Another” is an absolute powerhouse that has a couple of serious gut punch moments as the band paint in colour and shade, never afraid to add melodic touches to otherwise brutal cuts and vice versa while at the same time having the musicianship to pull off those left turns with style and grace. The grand finale in “Moonrider” takes things into the epic realm, going bigger and bolder with atmospheric Metalcore and Progressive touches to create something with cinematic qualities that still retains that heavier core element as an orientation. On this evidence while you wait for the second chapter which has almost instantly become a highly anticipated one, you’ll also want to check out the previous records. That’s testament to how good this record is [8.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Conflict I
2. Practice What You Preach
3. Exiled
4. Dimensions Apart
5. From One Side to Another
6. Moonrider

At the Center of It All – Chapter I” by Eternal Closure is out 23rd September 2022 and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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