Artist: Eternal Void
Album: Serenity in the Black
Think back to your lowest points in life—or maybe your absolute lowest point—think about what got you there, sure, but also think about how you felt, and, most importantly, what changes did you make to pull yourself out? When things were at their most dire and bleak, and just about every light in your life had been obscured by darkness, what changed? What got you where you are right now?
For progressive metalcore outfit Eternal Void, this hearkens back to the band’s last couple years; after a well-received label signing and reissued breakout release, things appeared to be looking up until…well, everything went dark. One of metalcore’s rising stars seemed to vanish from the sky until somewhere in the maelstrom that was 2020. Returning with a vengeance, the band kickstarted 2021 with “Despondent,” one of several singles from their long-awaited full length release Serenity in the Black that would signal their triumphant return to creating ravaging—yet thoughtful—riff-infused, beautifully dynamic metalcore. With Serenity in the Black, Eternal Void have not only pulled themselves out of a worrysome tailspin, but have surged back into prominence, creating a record that manages to be both boundlessly energetic and deeply introspective; both ruthless and riveting in its sprawling dominion over all things metalcore.
Instrumentally, Eternal Void find themselves at the crossroads of acts like TesseracT and early Northlane; taking distinct elements from metalcore and blending them in with splashes of progressive metal, post-rock and post-metal to add depth and warmth to an otherwise cold and cruel barrage of sinister chugs and scathing riffs. Songs like “Crippling Thing” and “Willow” see this dynamic play out perfectly, with punchy percussion giving a bouncy foundation for bright, explosive leads to dance across. Others—like the bombastic “Enemy”—channel that energy into something darker, with punishing, break-neck drumming wasting little time in leading a no-holds-barred onslaught on the listener, as harshly metallic riffs segue hither and to into bone-cracking breakdowns. Eternal Void expertly oscillate between their more ethereal elements (abundant on “Despondent” and “I Hope You Know”) and more brazen examples of blistering aggression. With dynamic drumming that works beautifully with thick, groovy bass, there is always a fluid, fast-paced firmament that packs a punchy low-end. Likewise, there are literally no shortage of riffs, leads and sultry grooves to get lost in throughout Serenity in the Black. “Willow” alone is jam-packed with them, just as “Suffering as a Contest” or “Enemy” are. Other songs—“I Hope You Know,” as an example, takes more time to focus on the band’s progressive and atmospheric side (but not without a splash of groovy bounce). Even as “I Hope You Know” opens with a salvo of lacerating percussion and jarring fretwork that makes the listener think it stands to be among Serenity in the Black’s heaviest offerings, it closes with a segment that is among the most pure and unfiltered experiences Eternal Void have to offer the listener, using huge, anthemic instrumentation with a deep sense of ethereality to draw the record to a stunning close.
Where the instrumentation throughout “I Hope You Know” (and, really, all of Serenity in the Black) is mesmerizing, the vocal element is even more so. Whether you want deep, burly bellows, shrill screams or soaring singing, Eternal Void have a little bit of everything for you—and that doesn’t even begin to consider their carefully selected guest vocalists. “Willow” and “Kin” see an enormous amount of variety in the band’s variety of screaming, while “Despondent” sees Spiritbox’s Courtney LaPlante do what she does best, absolutely hypnotizing the listener with her voice. Meanwhile, “Crippling Thing” sees the band’s candor and patterning among its best, managing to be as catchy as it is rambunctious, just as “Enemy” is a brutalizing, forceful and furious experience from the ruthless instrumentation to the bitter, remorseless vocal onslaught that comes along side it. Eternal Void—while not necessarily reinventing the wheel where metalcore’s vocal element is concerned—cover every base needed with zeal, ambition and incredible success, making Serenity in the Black a well-rounded release without any glaring moments of “Oh, shit, their vocalist can’t hit that note.”
Serenity in the Black, admittedly, is a release that falls within a certain subsection of progressive metalcore that I don’t frequent as often as the works of many of Eternal Void’s parallel peers. While the balls-out heaviness of acts like Sentinels or Struc/tures, the ambient beauty of Invent Animate or the dizzying technicality of Within the Ruins or In the Midst of Lions have always struck a chord with me, the more melancholic, metallic styles of progressive metalcore (a la Eternal Void) have kept me somewhat distant—until now. Serenity in the Black is a record that has it all, whether you’re a breakdown junkie (like me), a riff-hungry metalhead or someone who just wants to fucking groove, Serenity in the Black has several tracks to keep you hooked, cementing Eternal Void as a frontrunner for progressive metalcore’s bold and bright future.
For Fans Of: Northlane, Monuments, TesseracT, ERRA
By: Connor Welsh