Eucharist (means Holy Communion) from Sweden is a strange case of band. They were founded in 1989 and by 1998 they had already disbanded four (!) times, with the last one being the biggest since their return took place in 2015 and so far, it has proven to be permanent. “I Am The Void”, due to the above events, is only the third full-length of their discography and comes with two major changes.
The first is the position behind the drum kit, which in all their active periods was held by Daniel Erlandsson of Arch Enemy, who was recently replaced by Simon Schilling (At The Grave, Marduk, Panzerchrist) to join the only permanent member Markus Johnsson (guitars, vocals). The second has to do with the direction of their music, something that can be heard from the first notes.
On their first album “A Velvet Creation” (1993) they played melodic death metal, obviously influenced by the early days of the classic trio Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates and In Flames. In the second “Mirrorworlds” (1997) they continued with the same logic, putting more melody and more of their own elements to create something unique. But now Eucharist are clearly sailing towards black metal waters, leaving behind their death metal past completely.
The songs are mostly fast, with Schilling giving a devastating performance. The riffs are sharp and often follow the speed of the drums, while sometimes they become more atmospheric and melodic with the corresponding speed breaks so that the albums do not sound monotonous and repetitive. Johnsson’s vocals are also black. It could also be described as melodic black metal, although the melody is not the main component of the album’s music.
The record does not lack some experimentation, such as the punk vibe in “Mistress Of Nightmares”, the gothic approach with the keyboards and the whispered vocals in “Nexion” and some death metal riffs in “Lilith”. I was impressed by the duration of “I Am The Void”, which reaches an hour and a quarter and is as long as the two previous albums together! I cannot say that I was tired (something that usually happens to me in such cases), on the contrary it managed to keep my interest until the last minute since the music is well structured and well played.
A big and bold change from Eucharist, since all these years they had managed to create a cult status around their name with their two albums being considered classics in underground melodic death metal. I do not know if they will be able to keep all their old fans with them, but they will definitely be able to win some new ones. Especially those who listen to black.