Released: 2017, Xtreem Music
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
As retro-leaning metal bands go, Slovenia's Eruption score some unexpected points for thinking a bit outside of the box with their influences instead of not merely aping the usual thrash suspects – Nuclear Assault, Testament, Exodus, Metallica, et al. Granted the band's third album won't win many prizes for originality, but by giving old school thrash something of a progressive makeover they show some genuine ambition and at least make things interesting.
Cloaks of Oblivion ventures into territory once charted, rather obviously, by Sanctuary or very early Fates Warning when things were still somewhat rough and tumble but with obvious technical aspirations that were just about to come to full bloom – in Sanctuary's case after it morphed into Nevermore. Cloaks builds on Eruption's previous work with more epic and elaborate compositions – though it hardly goes off deep end, only the closing track “The Prophet” cracks the seven-minute mark – while retaining the raw edge and thrash adrenaline that give it bite.
The guitar work of Andrej Cuk and Grega Kamenšek, though certainly grand - and sometimes spectacular – has an abrasive charm and crunch, even when things hit their epic peak here on the title track, “Reborn Into Demise” or the aforementioned “The Prophet.” And the nimble rhythm section of bassist Nika Krmelj and drummer Ivan Cepanec isn't afraid to get down and dirty and bust out the odd blast-beat burst, as on “The Yearning,” to keep the energy level high.
But it's still a far cry from the same old Bay Area-inspired chug and churn so many of Eruption's re-thrash contemporaries so lazily fall back on - perhaps that's one advantage of hailing from from off the beaten path in Slovenia. Occasional acoustic strains and sweeping riffs lend a majestic air, and the bob and weave tempos and comparatively challenging arrangements provide welcome depth.
And it all is capped with dramatic – albeit somewhat cheesy – authority by frontman Klemen Kalin's yowling vocals and otherwordly story lines. Kalin is not afraid to hit the high notes, and does so with ear-bleed regularity here. Fans of original Fates frontman John Arch or Sanctuary-era Warrel Dane should eat this stuff up, even if Kalin tends to be a bit screechier.
But like his bandmates, he doesn't really overdue it. The caterwaul is employed mostly for emphasis, and Kalin's normal signing voice is huskier and grittier, again like Dane, and fits comfortably when the band is at its most aggressive, which for now is still more often than not.