Reviewed: [July 2021]
Released [2021 Self Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
A whole mess of ingredients go into the five-track debut EP from symphonic metallers Eonian, which is essentially a solo project of Spanish guitarist Jaume Antuñano that quite literally spans the globe. Thanks to the Internets, he is joined by 11 guest musicians from Russia, India, Argentina, Sweden, The Ukraine, Colombia and elsewhere for The Nomad, with a group of four of them forming the “core” of the effort – bass, drums, vocals, orchestrations – and the rest contributing guitar, violin or keyboard solos at various points.
Is it all overkill? You bet. But in the end, does it all work? For the most part, yes. Unlike the underwhelming last album from Dimmu Borgir with which Eonian shares its name, this project places as much emphasis on the “metal” side of the equation as it does the “symphonic” half. And, as such, The Nomad is cramming with galloping rhythms, fleet, gnashing riffs, dive-bombing leads and nearly nonstop intensity to go along with the orchestral flourishes and sweeping choirs.
The sound on The Nomad is something like a blackened take on Wintersun, though with far tidier arrangements. Despite everything that is going on here, all of the songs are under five minutes long, and seem designed more for maximum impact than the maximum, well, maximalism Wintersun certainly favors. The tunes are unquestionably intricate and involved, but also tightly scripted and delivered with vigor and purpose, even if the parts were recorded here, there and everywhere.
Swedish drummer Freddy Ortscheid, ex- of Entrails, and flame-throwing French vocalist DM of Helioss, Gravefields and a host of others give standout performances here. Ortscheid steers the ship with his steady double-bass fusillades and DM’s shrieks and growls guarantee the ferocity never wanes. Not that that is ever really in question, given that the Nomad launches with the furious “Winter Wanderer” and wraps up 23 minutes later with the equally tumultuous “Shores of a Lost Sea.”
Antuñano did a fine job not only lining up his accomplices here but marrying all of their contributions together. This easily could have sounded like a cut and paste mish-mash. But working together with Simone Pietroforte, who mixed and mastered The Nomad, to put all the pieces together, the guitarist has crafted something that is not only ambitious and daring, but coherent, engaging and quite powerful.