Lyricists: Francine Boucher; Brandon Patton.
Personnel: Francine Boucher (vocals); Brandon Patton (guitar); Kirk Carrison (drums).
Audio Mixer: Eric Ryan.
Recording information: Ravens Work Studios.
Arrangers: Kirk Carrison; Francine Boucher; Duane Cowan; Brandon Patton.
Faithful fans will be the first to admit that heavy metal is rarely sexy (sexist? Yes; sexy? No), but Echoes of Eternity are clearly a band at ease with their sexuality -- or at least at ease with letting vocalist Francine Boucher flaunt her sexuality. (Not a bad way to start a review: with five out of forty words being variations of "sex.") Unfortunately, as fetching as she may be, Echoes of Eternity's frontwoman rarely manages to establish herself as a focal point on their 2007 debut, The Forgotten Goddess, based solely on her vocal talents. To be fair, her failure can be blamed in part on the overbearing nature of the group's music, which consists of intricately arranged extreme metal riff and percussive constructions, regularly offset by copasetic and counterpoint melodies. Although these elements offer an impressive range of dynamic variety, often mirroring the work of Canadians Into Eternity, they simultaneously leave little room for the vocalist to take command of any given song (particularly Byzantine exercises like "Expressions of Flesh" and "The Kingdom Within"), only suffocating Boucher's timid crooning, instead. What's more, her efforts are in no way assisted by less-than-inspired lyrics and choruses (regularly repeated ad nausea, as in the title track), making it clear that Echoes of Eternity is a musicians' band, first and foremost, with Boucher's presence seemingly a mere afterthought. In any case, it results in just a few successful marriages of voice and instrumentation (see "Voices in a Dream" and "Lost Beneath a Silent Sky"), but won't easily meet the lofty expectations of fans accustomed to contemporary bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, and After Forever -- all of which feature similarly stunning, classically trained operatic powerhouses wielding their lead microphones. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia