Y’know I prefer COL to Pelican, I prefer them to Bossk, hell…I even prefer them to Isis and I love this new record. So why am I struggling with this review, why do I feel slightly disappointed? Maybe it roots back to ‘Somewhere Along the Highway’, that record was a great record but I had the same feeling. It wasn’t pushed far enough, it should have been more experimental, more ambient, more natural. The same with ‘Eternal Kingdom’, they’ve reached back to the heavy crushing noise of old, but it’s not enough!
With this release they’ve found a truly original concept, the journal of an ex-mental patient, a story of woodland creatures rising up and taking over our civilisation, with the nocturnal army led by a tyrannical Owl king. Now that’s a concept of an all-time classic record, and this record has some truly classic moments, like the swirling, mesmerising ‘Ghost Trail’, possibly the best song the band have written. And as a whole this album is good, very good….but it doesn’t stop that feeling I’ve got. That feeling of…’ if only’.
The album should drip with crazed psychedelic hysteria, crushing mountainous doom and truly epic atmospherics. It should be a vivid, confusing aural vision of the story of the owl king, something that sticks with you for a long time. Now this is quite an ask for any band, but the disappointment only exists because throughout this record you can hear glimpses of magic. Moments that suggest this band are capable of making a record that good. And ‘Eternal Kingdom’ is a bloody good album, it just won’t sit in your all-time top 5 and I KNOW they can make a record that will.
Maybe next time….
Scribed by: Andrew Sloan