Eternal Champion – the reigning champs of epic heavy metal – return 4 years after The Armor Of Ire turned the world on to their classic re-appropriation of USPM (a la Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm, Omen and the mighty Manilla Road) and Ravening Iron is everything you’d hoped this talented bunch would deliver!
Improving on their critically adored debut in every sense, Ravening Iron is bigger, better and more bad-ass. This is concept metal at its finest, providing pure escapism amidst world-building of considerable skill. Eternal Champion perfectly position themselves at the crossroads of classic heavy metal, power metal & doom metal and while there are no surprises to be found per se, the ‘surprise’ is just how uniformly HUGE this album sounds and how virtually perfect it really is.
As indicated, songwise this album is virtually faultless although the gallop and chug of “War at the Edge of the End” and “Coward’s Keep” are a particular joy to behold, with Eternal Champion commanding the chaos with 100% resilience and fortitude. This album centrepiece is an un-fuck-able combo for want of a better description and if a love for the truly epic courses through your veins then these two tracks are worthy of admission price alone. We’d be remiss not to give a few words to closing track “Banners of Arrai”, a song so deceptively simple yet so crushingly heavy and so immersive as to render the listener enraptured and enthralled, this is the sound of epic heavy metal made whole. Frankly, album closers don’t get much better.
This kind of metal is relatively ten to a penny but Eternal Champion are undoubtedly masters of the art. At the heart of this great album is the storytelling, the kind which elevates their myth, mystery and magic to the top of the pile via sheer authenticity and a tangible quality. All in all, it’s impressive stuff.
If you wet yourself over Eternal Champion’s aforementioned debut, Sacred Outcry’s outstanding 2020 effort Damned For All Time or Wytch Hazel’s revelatory III: Pentecost then Ravening Iron should be considered mandatory! 9/10
Eternal Champion’s Ravening Iron was released on 6th November 2020.