Amadeus Awad's Eon - The Book Of Gates
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Reviewer: Black Cat - 2014-09-10
And here we are. On June 12 2012, I was intrigued by a Facebook post on AMADEUS AWAD’s fanpage about a new EP called “The Book Of Gates”, no further explanation was given, but the name was so catchy, it was obvious that Awad was on to something big, never knew it was this big though.
And news started rolling. Amadeus and his band mate and long time partner Elia Monsef (Vocalist of AMADEUS AWAD, AMADEUS AWAD'S EON, BLANK RESONANCE and OSTURA) announced that the new project will be released under the name Eon. So far so good.
For me and for the metalheads that I know, this was enough of news to keep us on our toes, a Progressive Metal project from 2 veterans meant that the scene is about to shift into a new direction, we all know that whenever the names Awad and Monsef are mentioned, chances are that they will set new standards and the rest of field will be looking in awe… And boy. Russell Allen and Amanda Somerville on Vocals. Kevin Moore, Elyes Bou Choucha, John Macaluso and Dan Veall progging along on their instruments. The world changed forever. But we had to wait. 2 very long years.
And today, I have “The Book Of Gates” right here, I am listening to it for the braklizion time to write a review. The concept Progressive Oriental Metal EP comes in explosive 4 tracks of pure madness! The EP opens with a heartbreaking acoustic riff, my whole existence shivered when I first played it; “Vision” is an acoustic track, has Amadeus written all over it, the sound, the moods, it takes into a tunnel of darkness into the deserts of Egypt where the story takes place. And while the keyboard arrangements of both Elyes Bou Choucha (MYRATH) and Danny Bou Maroun (OSTURA) start to get under your skin, Elia Monsef, Sir Elia Monsef starts singing; I never imagined such a vocal line, the whole track was so surprising.
To be honest, Elia’s voice on the opening track is so good that I only moved on to the next one because I was so curious to listen to what Russell and Amanda has for us. Another Amadeusque very short acoustic into lead me into a bombastic progressive metal riff of the finest caliber, directly into a very oriental kanoon break, and Amanda’s enters into the mix like a subtle storm that will be followed by a volcanic Russell Allen! Nothing can describe this track, it has everything that is called Progressive Oriental Metal. Awesome arrangements, perfection in the riffs department, leads that will leave you at awe, time signatures that flow effortlessly without sounding pretentious, amazing lyrics and bombastic vocals of the finest in existence… And of course, Kanoon and Oriental beats and pulses shining through.
The title track, “The Book Of Gates” starts with the heaviest riff on the album, I felt my bones move! And then, to my surprise, Elia, playing the role of the Necromancer, leaves the Daniel Gildenlow spirit he is known for (dominates his vocal work in AMADEUS AWAD’s prog masterpiece “Schizanimus”) and reincarnate into a mythological metal monster! This guy is sick, I guess this is the widest vocal range I have ever heard from a Middle Eastern Metal vocalist. The track continues with a surprise in musicality in every bar, until it smashes every rule against the wall.
And then, the “crème de la crème” of Amadeus Awad starts at min 4:10, a part that Eon previously released on Youtube as “The Dream”, a very exotic sounding acoustic part starts to play, full oriental throttle, extremely touching, Russell Allen melted my heart and Amanda , I do not know what to say about her performance! Her singing on this project is the best I heard of her! It is very needed to point out that Kevin Moore’s work in this part made the hair on my head point in every direction.
The journey of the EP (This is SO short, we want 100 songs!) starts to end with the last track, “Incarnation”. With an opening reminiscent of O.S.I, Kevin Moore puts the band right on track while a riff starts rumbling, right after an earthquake of orchestration, Russell Allen sings what might be his finest lines to date, I never heard him soar to such heights, and I am a huge Allen fan (I am sure you already figured out), and Elia matches him in the glory, the track literally progresses into a lead guitar part that is worthy of the Progressive Lead Museum, until, another very exotic, oriental part hits you tight in the face.
Allen and Monsef engage into a part that has everything you wish them to do, 2 gods of their trade are fighting for our love and they both get it equally, I wish this part was longer, I cannot find words to give it justice. Right after that Amanda strikes back, with a theatrical and magical performance that showcases her vocal abilities, shining like never before, she confronts both Allen and Monsef to close the EP, leaving no room for words, I had to pick up my jaw.
Writing a conclusion is the hardest part. What can one say after such an experience? Frankly the EP is flawless, I cannot criticize anything whatsoever, the music, the lyrics, the innovations and the mix. This is the work of Pioneers. Amadeus Awad & Elia Monsef prove to us, in little less than 25 mins, that they are among the best composers in the progressive scene, and yes they are Arabs and boy are we proud.
In short, AMADEUS AWAD is a character that I do not think we will ever be able to grasp, just listen to his work in "Schizanimus" (MRR-2013) and then listen to this, I do not know if anyone can believe that both EPs are the fruits of the same brains, no way! And in my opinion, he is the best lyricist in this genre. As for Elia, my personal hero, with the widest vocal range in the Middle East as far as I am concerned, and the ability to write such amazing tracks and keep up with Awad’s musical insanity, I think he is in a league of his own, and no one is yet to catch up.
Awad and Monsef, please keep making more music. I give the project 9/10, only because I waited 2 years and because it is less than 5 hours.
2. The Crown's Fate
3. The Book of Gates