There’s a division in metal right now. As someone who’s dabbled in my local metal scene for close to a decade now, I’ve seen it first hand. While there’s tons of sub-genres of metal, it seems like, as a whole, you’re only given two options as to what kind of metal you can prescribe to: classic or modern. You either have your hair long or clean cut, dress like a goth or wear your battle vest with pride, and sing like Eric Adams or scream like Winston McCall. Sadly, good ol’ elitism in the metal community has driven a wedge between both sides, with a majority of classic metal-heads viewing modern metal as being for posers while the fans at the other spectrum don’t think classic metal is intense enough. This is disappointing, as metal has always been a genre for the disenfranchised and the outcasts, which is something fans on both sides can relate to. Thankfully, some bands do the most metal thing possible and decide to stick a giant middle finger up at this trend by having their cake and eating it to.
Progressive thrash metalheads Next to Eternity are one of these bands, fusing vintage-sounding thrash riffs and bass lines with vocals and drums that straddle the line between melodeath and metalcore on their debut release, “To the End.” The album sounds like an unholy lovechild of Megadeth and Hatebreed, baptized by Lamb of God in Tool’s backyard. The production of all seven tracks is outstanding, with fantastic guitar and bass tones mixed just right to give the vocals and drums plenty of space, all with minimal compression. Each song has its own identity, due in part to the experimental nature of the album – most bands are fine staying within the confines of their chosen sub-genre, while Next to Eternity are kicking down sonic barriers. A prime example of this is track 3, “Honor,” thanks in part to its impressive composition that takes you on a musical journey, starting with an atmospheric tapping riff before transitioning into a hardcore bruiser that gives way to an epic chorus. The last track, “Final Hour,”
is another standout that transitions from brutal verse to thrashy solo to soaring, operatic outro. This album keeps you on your toes from start to finish.
I really respect what bands like Next to Eternity are doing. They’re not afraid to push the envelope and create something unique by mixing sub-genres of metal that supposedly aren’t meant to go together. Best of all, they don’t seem to take themselves as seriously as some of their contemporaries, which is quite refreshing! Remember kids, metal can only grow and stay fresh when rules are broken, and honestly, what’s more metal than that? Be sure to check out Next to Eternity’s debut EP, “To the End”:https://open.spotify.com/album/4vqMdjE1E886AwasZhgNoo?si=RdaOtrtjQPe8CbqxB4AkOA
Overall Sound – 8 out of 10 (crisp production highlights airtight musicianship)
Vocal Style – 7 (fantastic harsh vocals with inconsistent cleans)
Overall Song Composition – 8 out of 10 (each song stands out thanks to an unconventional blending of metal sub-genres)
Originality – 9 out of 10 (these guys have a sound that is truly their own)