Released: 2011, Blinding Force
Echoterra are back and there has been a bit of upheaval in the band. Since the last album vocalist Suvi had left but the band picked up a major score by getting Melissa ex-Visions of Atlantis to sing on the new sophomore album LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN. As I write this, just a couple of months ago Melissa has formally departed the band and the timing is perhaps unfortunate, not only for the loss of her talent but as it may have slowed the momentum of this great record. In addition, the drummer and bassist from the debut come and gone, so essentially this American Metal act is becoming the Yan Leviathan project. Fortunately the band still has a bit of label stability as they are on the young label Blinding Force.
History, politics and industry aside this is the first Echoterra record review on this site and it's pretty impressive. LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN comes well presented in a very nice package, full lyrics, and excellent production courtesy of Leviathan. The only complaint in the production department is the drums sound a bit thin but everything is balanced nicely. Naturally one of the highlights is the sweet soprano voice of Melissa Ferlaak. She sounds angelic on this album. The whole symphonic sound is quite atypical for an American band but a heavy connection to the band Avian (members past and present) helps explain the style and sound of Echoterra.
The songs are all well-composed, simpler songs that run in the 4-6 minute range and the tunes are sparse enough that the individual performances can shine through. The songs are laden with keyboards and lots of excellent soloing. The songs hum along at a mid to fast pace but never get too wild. or panicky. There is a sense of classy elegance or sophistication to the cuts as opposed to a more, epic, bombastic feel. The guitar and keyboard interplay is very well done but I'd like to hear the arrangements be a bit more dynamic with a hint more edge. This hour long platter is smooth and squeaky clean, not much grit and certainly no death growls as many of the bands in this style do the 'beauty and the beast' twin-vocal attack. Nope, Melissa carries the show on her own quite capably.
I hope the band can find a new vocalist who can do the material on LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN justice and hope they can establish some consistency. Until then we have a very solid, enjoyable record to enjoy from Echoterra.