Eterna - Papyrus (Encore) 1999
1. "Working Man"
I cannot imagine any fan of progressive metal, or even neo-classical metal not enjoying "Papayrus". Certainly Eterna are comparable to fellow Brazilian metal-mongers Angra and even Fabio Rocha's Shining Star in both quality and style. However, I also hear elements of Dream Theater and perhaps Stratovarius as well. They have everything a good progressive metal band should have and then some. Eterna have added some memorable hooks and choruses into their technical songwriting, unlike many prog-bands who get so technical that there is no chance of remembering the song once it's finished. Songs like the heavier "Da Pacem Domine" and "Working Man" are excellent songs. The combination of tight songwriting, excellent musicianship, clean vocals and melodic vocal melodies work quite well together. Even mellower moments like the majestic "The War in Over" have this same combination going for it. Lyrically the band searches realms of Christianity and spirituality. I had been told that this band was "Catholic metal." Errr, ok, whatever. Whatever label you put on them, the lyrics are thought provoking, interesting and not preachy, yet they present their beliefs and ideas without compromise.
Eterna - The Gate (Encore) 2001
1. "Open the Gate"
Being that I was getting into a lot of Brazilian bands, a friend asked if I had heard Eterna. According to him they were one of the best bands to come out of Brazil since Angra and Shining Star. On first listen, to be honest, I only got about halfway through the disc before I turned it off. It's not that the band is bad, because they certainly are not. For some reason I just got bored with it on the first listen. I think part of this problem might be attributed to the fact that this disc is just so long. However, knowing my friend's taste in music I couldn't give up on this disc in only one listen so I kept it in my cd case for several weeks promising myself that I would give it a few more listens. I mean, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood the first time, or perhaps this is one of those discs that just needs a few spins to realize it's potential. Certainly this proved to be the case. Eterna are a progressive, speed metal band that utilizes complex song structures that are a bit hard to follow on first listen, at least for me. They must be extremely influenced by bands like Stratovarious and Sonata Arctica as well as the whole German speed/progressive metal movement as this is the sound that the band excels at. Lots of double bass, neo-progressive guitar rhythms and leads, epic length songs and melodic, sweeping keyboards. The vocals are in the clean high to mid range without the thick Brazilian accent that I hear in a lot of recent Brazilian metal bands. Occasionally he reminds me of Ray Alder, more in style than in tonality. After three or four listens, I remain impressed by the bands musicianship and I totally enjoy listening to this disc. However, once the disc is off, I can't remember any of the melodies or choruses, which makes the overall experience a bit un-rememberable. Must also make mention of that fact that the lyrics on this disc are all Christian influenced, although not in a "turn of burn" or "holier than thou" manner. They are actually quite interesting and thought provoking.
Eterna - Terra Nova (Crash) 2002
Sort of a bizarre release from Eterna. The first five songs are outstanding power/prog metal with spatterings of those neo-classical sounding keyboards. This band has improved by leaps and bounds. This become apparently clear when track six begins, which is a track taken from the band's 2002 album "Papyrus". However, even the Papyrus tracks are quite enjoyable. I am not exactly sure why the band decided to put these old tracks on this CD. Perhaps it is because this was their first CD to be distributed in the U.S. market. For us fans who already have "Papyrus", it's the new tracks that make this CD worth it's price. I especially enjoyed the Dream Theater-ish instrumental "Levitas", which gives the band a chance to show their talents.
Eterna - Epiphany (MV8 Music) 2004
Eterna return in '04 with their best effort to date. The band still plays classy, progressive, and melodic power metal, but they have improved 100% in every aspect from their past CDs. First of all, the mix is thick and raw but clear enough that every instrument is heard, right down to every single thump on the bass drum. Also, the band has really improved as musicians and songwriters. One listen to "Holy Ghost" should impress any fan of classic heavy metal. While I feel the entire disc is strong, there was something about this particular song that really stuck out to me. The guitar riffs, the lightning fast guitar solo, the smooth vocals, and the memorable chorus all work well together. Since English isn't this band's first language I did notice some phrasing that sounded odd here and there throughout the disc, but nothing that really distracted me from enjoying the music. Eterna also incorporated keyboards, which I feel sometimes can work to the detriment of many heavy metal bands. Eterna, however, use them to reinforce the music. The keys in "Dead Eyes", for instance, reminded me a bit of something that Dream Theater might do. The same holds true for the bridge and solo section in "Searching for Salvation" that switches from a fast, impressive guitar solo to an equally impressive keyboard solo. Actually this song has a slow, heavy, moody vibe that reminded me of Veni Domine. "After Shadows" is a sort acoustic instrumental that works as the intro to another standout cut on this CD, "Power for the Fools". This song is another fast and furious power metal track that rivals "Holy Spirit" for my favorite track. The only song that I really felt dragged a bit was the slow acoustic ballad at the end of the CD. Despite this, "Epiphany" is Eterna's stronger effort to date. Even the front cover art on this CD is top notch.