Ethernity - The Human Race Extinction

Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a progressive metal band creates an album around the story of a futuristic dystopian world where robots have taken over. That’s the story behind the female-fronted, Belgium-based band Ethernity’s third full-length album, The Human Race Extinction.

Clocking in at 70 minutes, this album is filled with crunchy riffs, flashy guitar solos, intricate interplay between the guitars and keyboards, powerful choruses, and Julie Colin’s passionate vocals. I must confess that when I looked at the track listing and saw that ten of the fourteen tracks were longer than five minutes, I was concerned that the album would quickly lapse into monotony, but I was pleasantly surprised. The band manages to create a near-seamless musical product that segues from song to song while keeping it interesting and new. The use of techno sounds and vocal effect processing adds variety to the overall keyboard/guitar driven pseudo-symphonic metal texture. Colin’s vocals remind me at times of Fia Kempe (The Great Discord) with their power and expression and at other times of someone like Lizzy Hale because of the versatility and ease with which she moves from soft, tender vocal lines to powerful metal screams.

The weakness of this album is really in the production, particularly the mix. I feel like, at times, the vocals are competing too much with the guitars and all of them are constantly being overpowered by the drums. It would have been a stronger album if the producers had not gone with an “everything louder than everything else” approach to the mix. I also feel like some of the keyboard solos are a bit muddy, as if trying to cover up a lack of technical precision. I do not think that is the case, as Julien Spreutels seems to be a proficient player, I just think the choices of patches for some of the solos could have been better.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album. It is not one of my favourites by any means, but it is definitely one that I will keep pulling out to listen to from time to time and it makes me want to look into the band’s previous work. If you are concerned about the tired, beaten into the ground “robots taking over” theme of the album, it really is more of an undercurrent than an in-your-face lyrical theme. The band announced Colin’s departure in late August, so it will be interesting to hear what a new vocalist will bring to future projects.

01. Initialization (1:08)
02. The Human Race Extinction (6:24)
03. Mechanical Life (6:01)
04. Grey Skies (6:28)
05. Beyond Dread (5:36)
06. Artificial Souls (4:37)
07. Redefined (6:02)
08. Rise of Droids (6:35)
09. Mark of the Enemy (2:35)
10. The Prototype (5:07)
11. Not the End (5:07)
12. Warmth of Hope (4:19)
13. Chaos Architect (5:19)
14. Indestructible (5:29)

Total Time – 70:00

Julie Colin – Vocals
Julien Spreutels – Keyboards
Francesco Mattei – Lead Guitar
Thomas Henry – Guitar
François Spreutels – Bass
Nicolas Spreutels – Drums

Record Label: AFM Records
Catalogue#: AFM_6899
Country of Origin: Belgium
Date of Release: 14th September 2018

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