Eternal Champion ‎- Ravening Iron CD


As if they didn’t do it convincingly enough with The Armor of Ire in 2016, Eternal Champion well and truly smashed the epic heavy/power target with this sophomore release. What makes Ravening Iron such an easy target to gather the hordes stems largely from its attitude of triumphant confidence, where no 4/4 tempo feels too tame and no guitar riff lacks the balls to thrust through the listener’s defences. Rarely going overboard in terms of pace, bravado, or complexity, the 4 Americans from Texas manage to compel for 37 minutes, which is certainly not a moment too long. Jason Tarpey’s poised vocals achieve more with their reverberating mid-range than a dozen shriekers could combined, leaving the flashier moments for wheeling guitar solos and the incisive punch of the rhythms.

Totalling just 7 full songs, in addition to the moody instrumental ‘The Godblade’, Eternal Champion address each foray as though their last, building to heated melodic peaks on the insistent ‘War at the Edge of the End’ and rattling the ground with the cocky strides of ‘Coward’s Keep’ and ‘Skullseeker’. Nevertheless, the brief moments on ‘Worms of the Earth’ and the title track when the group lets everything go in terms of speed and heaviness most definitely make their mark too. The immensity of Arthur Rizk’s production helps Ravening Iron stand out from grittier epic affairs, and props it up next to his work on Crypt Sermon’s The Ruins of Fading Light as an extremely effective modern epic. Mentioning Eternal Champion in the same breath as Visigoth and Smoulder - if not before them - is now absolutely mandatory.