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Eternal Champion
The Armor of Ire

Five sojourners from Austin, TX, tell tales of adventure, heroes, valor, and wars all while spinning massive amounts of musical notes manically around your melon. The epic sounds that abound remind me of early Savatage and Diamond Head. If you like fantasy films like “Fire and Ice” and “Heavy Metal”, this record is right up your ally!

Four warriors: three carry battle axes; Blake Ibanez and Carlos Llanas wield the guitars; Brad Raub handles the bass; and Arthur Rizk sounds the drums of war. Fronted by the golden god of Valhalla, Jason Tarpey leads you through the decorated hallways of the Never as he narrates the tales in song. Each picture hung and statue carved has a story to tell, and this is but a mere attempt to tell you of what I’ve seen and heard.

“I Am the Hammer” is the first tapestry passed. The echo of the title rings out in what I think is a song about Thor. Listening to it, I picture that big war hammer held out front for the attack. The vocals are ghostly, the music is magic. The next few items on display are; a suite of armor, a king’s crown, a painting of a battle fought in snow. “The Armor of Ire”, “The Last King of Pictdom”, and “Blood Ice” are like Norse songs put to metal. “Blood Ice” is a soft, atmospheric instrumental that helps you picture a hand to hand fight in the dead of winter. It leads you by a bay window; the glass is frosted over; the faded light shines on the blade, “The Cold Sword”, the anthem sounding vibe and strong vocals draw you in as your imagination does the rest.

Then a tall painting of what seems to be Vlad the Impaler is next as we move down this hallway. “Invoker” is driven by the drums during the verses, giving it that “war” feel and when the chorus hits, it’s an all out slash fest. Moving along, I find myself walking past a single pedestal with a piece of old parchment placed on top. Its writing is that of ancient runes written like sheet music and the title reads, “Sing a Last Song of Valdese” which is beautifully sung as the instruments melodically play on. As the last note fades, I’m led to the exit where a black, rusted gate sits overrun by ivy, and within the twisted metal work I can barely make out the name, “Shade Gate”. This dark sounding outro ends the tour of the hallway, and I find myself back in the real world.

Eternal Champion
The Armor of Ire
Written by: Tim Duran
9.5 out of 10

Downside is, the solos in the second track sound a bit like they’re searching for the next note, but the more I listen the more I realized that might be the intention. Upside, the music and vocals create an image of what might be going on as you hear the words and let your imagination spark a picture or scene. That is what music is supposed to do, make you feel, and picture a movie in your head - like when you read a good book.

I enjoyed all the songs as they are well thought out, exciting, and heavy. The ones that stand out for me are: “I am the Hammer” and “Sing a Last Song of Valdese”. I give Eternal Champion an epic 9 ½ for offering up a slice of fiction at a time where everyone is overrun with politics.

Tim Duran, HMS

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