Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#780 in the Series) is Eternal Essence, A Light in the Distance.
I don’t know a lot about Eternal Essence and I bet you don’t either, but you should. They could be one of a million best kept secrets, known only to their geography of audiophiles (in this case, Jersey and the East Coast), but gain tremendous popularity and respect for their over the top musical skills in places far and wide. I am guessing, but that could well be the hidden meaning behind the title of this A Light in the Distance, their 6th record, the first five which were all instrumental, the first 3, piano bass and drums. I mean how many clubs do you have to play to see a light in the distance and next you know, you get invited to open for someone like Swedish rockers Flower Kings (by the way, their latest and first in 6 years, Banks of Eden, certainly one of their best)
As you might guess, to be classified as metal or prog rock and put out that much music, you can hear these guys have a dedication and pre-meditation to write and play really great stuff that is more head turning than toe-tapping. You can reference them anywhere from Dream Theater to Rush, but they follow their own lead or a different drummer, two apt metaphors as the drummer is balls out, the guitarist a true example of the much over used virtuoso description. The song writing here is deep and original, the execution and production damn good. As I mentioned this is their first record with a singer and after alleged numerous try outs, they picked Maria Vatano, who blends in without breaking the style of these artistic hard rock musicians. The band added guitarist Gary Hoffman in 2006, and he can really put down some serious tone that could work with pop rock anthems right next to solo’s from masters of the trade (more Eric Johnson than Steve Howe, but I get the idea this guy in High School listened to the everything from the Dregs to Jeff Beck).
What makes this record so listenable and exude Cool Album of the Dayness is the pace of the style. Piano and acoustic mixed with ballad alongside epic. I never think bands look for suggestions or direction from a non-musician such as myself, but the one thing I would like to hear more of his vocal harmonies, as the combination of lead from a male voice, (don’t want to stereotype here, but my guess would be way more guys come to their shows than girls) with the angelic singsong voice of Vastano would be yet another instrument to add to these well-crafted pieces.
This group has a bright future. You know the buzz you get when you meet somebody and you seem compatible with your musical taste and you start talking about , are you familiar with (Spock’s Beard or Transatlantic come to mind) or older prog rock all stars (Gentle Giant, FM). Do you get more goose bumps when you connect or when they say, no haven’t hear them before? Usually I find the latter is more common, and I can say I get a better high from someone who checks it out, and the next time they see you become fanatics. If you know the feeling, go out and a limb and get this record. It will make you dig deeper and start following, because this band could be leaders of the pack. Be the first on your block to get it.
— John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Rise Above (4:54)
- A Tragic Subconscious (13:36)
- Let You Go (3:48)
- Within a Dream (5:02)
- From Green to Grey (5:07)
- Live for Today (3:51)
- Riven (7:25)
- And Servitude (4:22)
- Cool Gentle Rain (5:44)
- Epiphany (5:59)
- Driving the Spear (4:49)
- Maria Vastano – Lead Vocals and Backing Vocals
- Greg Rosenblit – Piano and Synths
- Gary Hoffman – Guitars and Flute
- EJ Luna – Drums and Percussion
- Matthew Rib – Bass
So you want some more progressive goodies? Here you go!