• 7.5/10
    ELDRITCH – El Niño - 7.5/10


Limb Music
Release Date: September 14, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

A landmark in Italian Metal, Eldritch are honored by Limb Music with a re-release of their third album, El Niño. The two earlier albums have received that treatment already, but of the three, El Niño is by far the best. All three albums have been out of print for several years, so it is a welcome gesture that especially El Niño is available again –- and the remastering is just the cherry on top making this good album even better compared to the original release.

Generally, Eldritch play a heavy variant of Progressive Metal, with breaks and a bit of keyboards, but mainly with heavy crunching guitars that allow for Thrashy sounds now and then. Can you imagine Exodus and Savatage jamming? This album has parts that feel just like that. The opening track “No Direction Home!” (“Fall From Grace” is only an intro) can score due to the guitar work delivered by Eugene Simone. Very melodic vocals from Terence Holler act as a counterpart and keep Eldritch solidly rooted in Heavy Prog whenever Eugene begins to drift into Hardcore, Black Metal, or Thrash directions. Occasional samples and Techno-bits are often thrown in and give some tracks a slight Industrial touch, which remains purely underlying and never dominates. This is merely a slight difference — Eldritch keep their distance from many other bands with whom they seem to share a mind set, like Dream Theater or Symphony X, but generally Oleg Smirnoff on keyboards stays in the background, so the elaborate key passages of the two bands mentioned are mostly absent.

The originality of the sound would become more pronounced on the later albums, of which the Italians released three after El Niño. Still, in retrospects El Niño remains the most versatile and interesting of all Eldritch albums. At first, some breaks seem a bit erratic, and the fast changes between instrumentation and riffs pose a challenge for the listener, unless he is willing to give the album a couple of spins to get to know it better — it definitely is rewarding. There are a handful of songs that stand out and should be known by fans of the genre: “Bleed Mask Bleed,“ “To Be Or Not To Be (God),“ and “From Dusk Til Dawn“ are a must have for the target audience.

What makes a re-release worthwhile -– apart from the basic fact that the album is available again, and the remastering, of course -– normally is the added value. This can be liner notes or even better, bonus tracks. Of the latter, the album contains no less then six. Unfortunately, five of those are demo recordings, and it is the nature of the beast that demo tracks are mainly for the old fan and not more than a nice goody, but hardly a reason for purchasing an album again. The sixth song is a cover version of Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Dreaming.“ Nice, but not essential. It should also be mentioned that the re-release track “Nebula Surface,“ which was not listed on the original album, is not a bonus track, but was included in the first release as a hidden track. The song now is listed under its name, and an interesting bit is that it traded positions with the song “El Niño.“

For those who do not know Eldritch yet, this is the best album to get to know the band. For those who already own the original copy it is a matter of how much they would like to hear an improved version of the album with a much better sound. But, even though Eldritch have never reached the premiere league of Metal (yet?), this will become a classic album of 1998 and should at least be known to everyone who considers himself a Connoisseur De Metal.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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