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Eldritch: Cracksleep
Eldritch - Cracksleep CD Album Review

Eldritch: Cracksleep

Progressive Power Metal
4.0/5.0

Returning from the "whatever happened to that band" file is Italy's progressive power metal band Eldritch. Now seven years into their third decade, the band returns with their eleventh studio album, Cracksleep. It's something of a concept album about the common causes of insomnia.

Eldritch Band Photo

Eldritch

There's no chance of Eldritch giving you insomnia, but they could put you to sleep. Essentially, Cracksleep is more of the same from Eldritch. Like it's predecessor Underlying Issues, it features an abundance of sharp, dense, even thrashy riffage, blistering solos, a touch of synths for symphonic embellishment, and a heavy thundering rhythm section for power metal pacing. All these create a massive wall of sound for every song. If anything Eldritch is defined by the twin guitar presence in the riffs and solos. The latter are abundant and possibly the best part of any Eldritch song.

Yet the heavy, riff dense arrangements create some problems. One is vocalist Terence Holler struggling in the mix, buried by the riffage as it were. Additionally, the bombastic arrangements can smother both melody and harmony. You have to listen carefully to catch either. Sometimes they rise in the guitar harmony, a scant piano line, or even from Holler's vocals, muted as they are. But even so, the task is a struggle.

So are there any song highlights, something to look forward to? Sure. As mentioned earlier, the guitar solos are simply killer throughout. Sometimes Eldritch can surprise you by backing off on the barrage of riffage and speed. Within As The Night Crawls, about midpoint, there's a breakdown that feels like heavy metal jazz fusion, especially in the drum line. With My Breath, a lighter metal anthem, the melody is quite clear, Holler is heard, and the song has an almost AOR accessibility, notable in the refrain. It's quite possibly the best song here. But for an example of Eldritch's overwhelming bombastic power metal, there's the chaotic thrashiness of Aberration Of Nature, where the music defines the title and vice versa.

All said, if you liked anything Eldritch has been doing in the last ten years or so, you will enjoy Cracksleep. Otherwise, for me, while I found points of interest, more of the same was enough.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

All said, if you liked anything Eldritch has been doing in the last ten years or so, you will enjoy Cracksleep.

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