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Earendil - At the gates of solstice 3/5

Reviewed: 3-1-12


1. Winter's call
2. Tears of a prophet
3. At the gates of solstice
4. The beckoning
5. Tainted
6. Embers of a lost paradise
7. Moonlight's death embrace
8. Mirage of our sins

Earendil is a band from El Salvador that was formed in 2004, and they released their debut 'De la gloria al poder' in 2008. It's a Spanish-language CD, and the style is gothic metal, though it's symphonic in spots too. The band's vocal style is of the "beauty and the beast" kind, with female vocals (soprano) courtesy of Itzel Huezo, some clean male vocals (baritone), and of course there's a "beast". All wrapped up, the debut brings the band Nostra Morte to mind, and also Erszebeth - both are Spanish-language gothic metal bands with "beauty and the beast" vocals and are overall quite similar to Earendil's debut. Unfortuntely, even though the songwriting on the debut is good and it's decently memorable, it's hurt by a poor production, which is thin, and the guitars are behind in the mix when compared to the vocals, keys and even the drums. Still, it's a fairly enjoyable listen.

The band's 2nd CD 'At the gates of solstice' was released in 2011 and it continues where the debut left off in all areas, except that it's sung in English. Listening to the 2nd CD brought more band comparisons to mind, and they would be Odes of Ecstasy, Via Mistica, After Forever (early), Tiarra, Epica, Myriads, Tristania (early), Eeriness, Penumbra, Even Song, and so on. Thankfully the CD has a nice balance of tempo, as there are both slow-paced and fast-paced songs, and just like the debut, incorporates the right amount of symphonic parts into its gothic metal style. Also like the debut however, the production isn't of high quality, containing the same flaws, but I will say that the production is better on the 2nd CD. Itzel does a decent job on both CDs, but she's certainly not at the same level as vocalists from popular bands like After Forever and Epica quite yet.

In the end, this is a band that I think major fans of "beauty and the beast" styled gothic metal should look into, but for those who only dabble in the genre, it might be better too wait for this band to prove they can be extra-competitive. Also, both CDs are quite short at about 32 minutes in length each, and along with the production flaws, that too is something the band can improve on before releasing their next CD. So we have a band with a fairly good start, but to really shine in this genre, we need a little more from them in a few areas.




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