Euphoreon – “Ends of the Earth”


After a seven year hiatus, the death metal project Euphoreon is back with Ends of the Earth, an album filled with melodic, near symphonic death metal in many ways as epic as their cover art.

Bands with little fanfare or press or even any sizable amount of information are usually either really good or absolutely horrible and unknown for a reason.  Euphoreon, is a two-person melodic death metal project that comes by way of New Zealand and Germany and is one of those pleasant surprises.  From what I gather, the project/band has been around since 2009 and did release their self-titled debut in 2011, which though reviews were somewhat limited, did garner some critical acclaim, which is easy to understand after listening to Ends of the Earth.  The band is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the physical copies of the album, which would be worth picking up on the basis of Gyula Havancsak’s glorious artwork alone.

Perhaps fittingly, the music on the album works well with the artwork: beauty, intensity, power, with an underlying sense of melody characterize the songs, much like the artwork.  The opening choir and guitar riff of “Euphoria” initially made me think this was going to be a power metal album, but then the tone shifted a bit darker and the growled death metal vocals came in.  The layers of sound in the song are expertly displayed allowing the brighter keyboards to offset the dark vocals rhythm section with the guitars seemingly bridging the two spheres.  The guitars do tend to dominate the mix, perhaps a bit too much, and end up hiding the drums and bass a bit more than  I would prefer.   Interestingly, the duo chose Tommi Halme to add in the guitar solos and they made a great choice there as the solos are blistering but well incorporated into the songs and without knowing it was a guest, you’d think it was one of the regular band members.

The title track opens up with some soft piano that is quickly overwhelmed by the guitar but tempered by keyboards again as in “Euphoria”.  The song features some sections of fast riffs alternating with silence from the guitars which add a nice change.  The drum work in this track comes to forefront a bit more at times than in the first song as well and the speed is pretty impressive.  I really like how the keyboards and symphonic elements vary in their volume and presence throughout the song.

After another slower keyboard and symphonic percussion intro, “Zero Below the Sun” almost goes for the fast droning black metal guitar sound before settling into a fast riff that ebbs and flows throughout the song again in this case allowing for space without guitars, be it ever so brief.  From a pacing standpoint, this track leans toward the fast gallop and outright sprint, driven by the drums eventually slowing at the midpoint where a beautiful symphonic section comes in as if to allow the guitars to catch their breath.  Once that has happened the guitars break out into a fast riff setting up for another great guitar solo before slowing again into a symphonic section that quickly shifts back into overdrive to close out the song.

“Mirrors” and “Oblivion ratchet up the symphonic and melodic elements a bit more than other songs on the album, but never straying too far from the elements that worked so well in the other songs.  The verse sections without guitars and featuring a backing choir element in “Oblivion” are a great touch and it almost seems as if the band pulled out all the stops in “The Grand Becoming”, making use of all the elements of their sound in one song.  Every time I listen to the album, what continues to strike me is how well the songs flow, giving the project a definite Scandinavian death metal feel to it.  The complex arrangements simply work to the point where you don’t notice how dominant the keyboards have become only to see them slowly and purposefully give way to the guitars and drums.

In Ends of the Earth, Euphoreon have released a great melodic death metal album, whose songs have that ability to draw you in again and again, each time revealing another subtle nuance in sound.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

1) Euphoria
2) Ends of the Earth
3) Zero Below the Sun
4) Mirrors
5) Cravenness
6) Oblivion
7) The Grand Becoming

Band Members
Matt Summerville – guitars, vocals
Eugen Dodenhoeft
Tommi Halme – Guitar solos

Record Label: Independent

Release Date: 20 April 2018

“Euphoreon” (2011) [review]

Weblinks: Official website / Facebook Bandcamp

Video (audio) for ‘Ends of the Earth’

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