Hailstorm Productions, 2001
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/12/2001
Spiritual Eclipse is a death band from Los Angeles who are sharp musically. They list their influences as Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Abigor, Nile, Opeth, and Epoch of Unlight. Seeing this list before I put the CD in my player made me a little nervous. I admit I like Morbid Angel, especially after seeing them open for Pantera in February 2001, and I like Opeth's Still Life and Blackwater Park to a fault, but the others? Either I've never heard them (Hate Eternal, Abigor, Nile) or I didn't like them (Epoch of Unlight).
So bringing a bias to this CD, I must admit clearly that I like Spritual Eclipse's debut Amaranth . This four track, roughly 20 minute CD is just the right exposure for this band, meaning, the four tracks are potent and the possibility of including filler material is squashed. What I like the most about this band is that, while there are trademark death growls, vocalist Abraham (Abe) is also interested in melody. Yep, melody in a death band. Hard to come by.
While listening to Spiritual Eclipse, you have to believe that the band isn't convinced that to be heavy and evil, you must play 1000 mph. There are fast parts on all four tracks that make you wonder if it's really drummer Ivor and bassist Alvaro thrashing away. Alvaro's bass is audible.
Which brings me to the sound quality on this CD. The mix on this CD is very good for an independent band. Ivor's intricate ride cymbal work is distinct; I must trade in my 22" Zildjian for whatever kind of ride he is using. Ivor does steal the show, especially in the first track. Instead of playing standard (and boring) snare blast beats through out the song, he mixes up his rhythms and makes his part, how should I say this, unique in the sense that it isn't what a crap death band would do.
"Lamentations Of The Lingering Soul" sticks out as my favorite track. Abe is singing, Ivor and Alvaro are locked into a syncopated groove. The band maintains a heavy groove for the majority of the song before slipping into an acoustic interlude and emerging on the other side as aggressive as ever.
Spiritual Eclipse is yet another band that needs the exposure to break into the big leagues of death. I don't have a magical process to do so. It seems, though, that they are on the right track. Since receiving this CD, I have received multiple emails about the band's gigs and, as a tip for all you aspiring musicians that send promos to reviewers, I received a courteous email that reminded me the band had sent me their CD and wondered when a review of it was coming out. This tells me that the band is smart enough to know the only way to get a review of your material posted on a website is to not let the reviewer forget about them.
In summary, I found Spiritual Eclipse to be a very good band. The musicianship on Amaranth is tremendous.