Overview: Carrying the listener to Greek and Egyptian settings through a fierce composite of Black and Death Metal is what Portugal’s Epping Forest has set to accomplish on Everblasting Struggle, their long-awaited debut after ten years of strenuous bustle. The songs have been arranged in a similar fashion of quite a few vintage Black Metal records – having a reasonable obscure intro before the actual tracks and ending with a rather striking outro – and convey a surprisingly tight and clinical musicianship. Drummer Menthor (of Corpus Christii’s fame) provides a remarkable work behind the kit, putting across his calculated savagery in a no less impressive way than those of these genres’ experts – something that genuinely affects the songs in a positive way – while the remaining rhythmic section aids convincingly at the same time. Keyboards aren’t always in the context, since they only surface to heighten particular parts in different places, and, occasionally, the vocals tend to vary in an approach equivalent to Behemoth’s.
Production: Polished and sophisticated, but perhaps too prudent, in the sense that it doesn’t let the sound strike as vehemently as it should, which undermines the guitar assault in crucial segments.
Parting Thoughts: Not even a handful of such inceptions have aroused my interest in the past – and particularly from Portuguese projects – but even if I don’t consider Everblasting Struggle as entirely inventive or ground-breaking, I wouldn’t be truly fair-minded if I didn’t regard it as one of this year’s top releases from Portugal.