ETHERNITY – OBSCURE ILLUSIONS – SELF RELEASED – RELEASE: OUT NOW

Ethernity  – Obscure Illusions – Self Released – RELEASE: Out Now

Ethernity is a progressive power metal band from Belgium, founded in 2000 by brothers Julien Spreutels (keyboards – Epysode) and Nicolas Spreutels (drums). The band played as an instrumental band before recruiting Julie Colin (vocals) in 2005 and recorded their first demo “All Over The Nations” and a self produced demo album “The Journey” in 2006. In 2007, Ethernity welcomed Gregory Discenza on lead guitar and two other demos followed. At that point, the band found its actual sound and played in most renowned venues in Belgium. I saw the band live in action at the PPM festival 2011 in Mons and at the R-Mine festival in 2013. Each time I was impressed by the quality of their music. I was more than eager to discover what their actual debut album would sound like!

Ethernity  is:
François Spreutels – Bass
Julien Spreutels – Keyboards, Backing vocals
Julie Colin – Vocals
Thomas Henry – Guitar
Gregory Discenza – Lead guitar
Nicolas Spreutels – drums

Guest vocals on ‘Obscure Illusions’

Tom S. Englund
Kelly Sundown Carpenter
Mark Basile

OBSCURE ILLUSIONS
obscureThe first sounds from opener “False Lamentations” are very promising. But when the riff from Gregory falls in I just know this will be a real treat. When Julie started to sing I thought I was in the metal heaven! The duels between Julien on keys and Gregory (and/or Thomas) on guitars are mind-blowing. The sound shows similarities with that other Belgian project Epysode from Samuel Arkan. But when you know that Julien is also involved in the songwriting on those albums, the link becomes clear.

“Entities” is slower paced and less aggressive, but is the ultimate track for Julie to shine like a star going supernova! It’s not a secret that I’m a sucker for keys, but when I hear the subtle piano strokes my melodic heart melts.

Super-fast riffage opens on “Shadows On The Wall”. Further in the intro I got intoxicated by dance inspired keys! Julie erases all doubts from anyone who dares to think (or say) a woman can’t sing on a prog metal album! Guys, I tell you this girl has huge balls! Musically this release can compete with Dream Theater (the harder albums) and Symphony X, DGM and equals.

The two brothers Nicolas and Julien are the main songwriters. But the family ties are even bigger within this band. Cousin François handles the bass and Julie is the life companion from Nicolas! Finally Jean Pascal Spreutels is responsible for the fantastic lyrics.

Julien is a true wizard on the keys and I just love his keys solos in the breaks. The man also knows how to handle the piano. Just listen to the fade of “Secret Door”.
The piano also plays a big role on the power ballad “Never Thought”. You also have to lend your ears to the extraordinary drum strokes and the sensitive melodic guitar solo! All of this is glued together with mild orchestration.

The heaviness is back in full force with “Rancor”. Slower and fast parts keep alternating here and Julie is simply outstanding!

“Alone” grants us some strong riffage. The addition of the keys from Julien delivers a good contrast. The riffs made me think of the early Conception albums! The classical piano intermezzo lets us take a relaxing breath and is a fine transition to the shredding solo.

The keys at the start of “Broken Memories” brings Jordan Rudess in mind and they are backed up with vintage Dream Theater (“Train of Thought”-era) drums and riffs. The track transforms in a mainly drum-driven fast composition. It also holds many twists and turns through the use of piano and keys (with a slightly dance-feel). Julie lets us enjoy the remarkable power in her voice and the pronunciation of the English language is more than average (a hard task for someone with a French native tongue)!

This blonde surprises me with her more sensitive and romantic side on the power ballad “After All Has Turned To Pain”. The teasing between the hard riffs and the softer piano sounds (with some minor orchestration) lifts the song to a higher level.

The romance is instantly vaporized by the fast and hard riffs from “XIII”. This track has a long instrumental break and Julien’s keys solo gives me goosebumps. The classical piano at the end delivers a real cool-down moment.

Jean Pascal Spreutels has written some wonderful lyrics for this album and gets his moment on this album when he does the voice on “Interlude”.

But Ethernity did save the best for last with the epic title track. The song kicks off as a film score and slowly transforms into a prog rock piece with lots of keys (piano), bass, orchestration, percussion and finally guitars! Four different voices can be heard on this track. Kelly Sundown (Ayreon, Darkology, Firewind) delivers pure power vocals, Tom Englund (Evergrey) brings his well known darker and sadder vocal tone. Julie injects a huge dose of emotions and Mark Basile (DGM) can be seen as the intermediate between Kelly and Tom. The use of the different vocalists brings Ayreon and Epysode in my thoughts! Although this track lasts almost 15 minutes it’s finished in a jiffy! Time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t it? Talk about going away with a bang. This is THE Belgian release of the year for me so far. But Dyscordia and maybe Epysode will attempt to throw them from their throne! Only time will tell (and me of course)

Conclusion:
Fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X and DGM will love this. The album sounds unbelievable. The songs are pure musical adventures. The symbiosis between the guitars and the keys are overwhelming and the vocals from Julie are mind-blowing. As a bonus we hear strong bass lines and excellent drumming! So stop reading and order this gem!

Score: 4,75 out of 5

Track list:

  1. False Lamentations
  2. Entities
  3. Shadows On The Wall
  4. Secret Door
  5. I Never Thought (You would make me go)
  6. Rancor
  7. Alone
  8. Broken Memories
  9. After All Has Turned To Pain
  10. XIII
  11. Interlude
  12. Obscure Illusions

Links:
www.ethernity.be

Text by: Rik Bauters

 

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