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Review: Eternal Champion - Ravening Iron
Eternal Champion
Ravening Iron

Label: Independent
Year released: 2020
Duration: 37:18
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: November 25, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Ravening Iron

Rated 4.53/5 (90.53%) (19 Votes)

Eternal Champion have been at the forefront of the NWOTHM movement since their split with Gatekeeper back in 2015, and outside of a weak Dungeon Synth single, they've yet to really disappoint. That said, I don't love their material as much as the underground at large does, so I was hoping that their sophomore effort, Ravening Iron, would finally see the band push themselves into greatness. I can't say it does that, but it takes a big step towards it.

Ravening Iron is more of the old-fashioned U.S. Metal in the vein of Omen and Warlord that the band specializes in, but it differs in a few ways from previous efforts. For starters, the production is cleaner than the debut with a real modern punch to it that, on the one hand, takes away some of the underground feel, but on the other makes them sound bigger than before, so it's a fair tradeoff. There's also a little bit of a Thrash influence in some of the riffing and even in some of Tarpey's delivery in places, which makes the faster cuts a bit more direct than before. This isn't to say that they've given up the more melodically involved material, as the compositions are actually more detailed and mid-paced than before, making this their most mature effort to date. There's some excellent material like the pummeling "Worms of the Earth" and the blazing title track, which may well be their best song to date, but there aren't any real bad tracks on here. Even the instrumental "Godlblade" is pretty cool, certainly better than the pointless "Shade Gate" off the last album.

As much as I like this album, I'm not really prepared to call it awesome. The songs can get a bit stodgy on the slower sections, and it's still shorter than I'd like it to be, but it's a definite step up from The Armor of Ire in spite of all that. This is going to end up on plenty of Best Of lists, and it's not like it'll be undeserved, but I hope the band will make their classic next time. I know they have it in them.

Other related information on the site
Review: Ravening Iron (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Ravening Iron (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Retaliator / Vigilance (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Armor of Ire (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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