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The Eternal Darkness
Released: 2000, Unsigned
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Scylla was the name of one of a pair of sea monsters in Greek mythology (the other was Charybdis, which would also make a good name for a metal band, possibly a prog/power outfit). It’s also the name of this intriguing new band, which is, of all things, a one-man project. Defying the usual convention of one-man outfits being patently self-indulgent bores awash in keyboards, foundering on the wreckage of a third-rate drum machine, Eugene Clearwater of Scylla does surprisingly well. There’s nothing ground-breaking here, but there is promise.
The Eternal Darkness starts out pretty heavy and keeps up the pace through three tracks of this four-track mini-CD, losing steam only at the end. I would not be surprised to find some Gothenburg flotsam in Mr. Clearwater’s CD case, because Scylla is clearly envisioned as a melodic death metal project, heavy on reasonably punishing riffage, yet concerned with providing a nice melody one can hook on to through most of the song. The guitar riffs are meaty and well-played and the inevitable battle between death metal and power/progressive stuff doesn’t really become an issue until the final track. That one, “Rain of Tears,” wanders onto a piano-driven tangent for too long before returning to the fold of true metal. The previous three tracks, however, are definite winners, and for fans of In Flames and similar bands may generate enough interest to keep Scylla in mind when it’s full-length-album time.
Aside from “Reign of Tears,” the weak spot of this CD is the vocals. To his credit, if Mr. Clearwater is unable to muster either a deathy growl or a clean power metal tone, he holds his weak card close to the vest, never revealing whether that is indeed the case. Here the vocals are of the “radio transmitter” variety – synthesized through a purposely crackly, distorted microphone that sounds vaguely like someone calling on an old CB set. I don’t think these kind of vocals work for a melodic death band. Therefore, while Mr. Clearwater appears to be a particularly gifted instrumental musician, if Scylla gains more than one member my suggestion would be to hire a vocalist. Competent vox of either the death or power varieties would polish off Scylla quite nicely, and would result in a talented band definitely worth checking out.
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