CD Review

Butterfly Messiah – “Eternal”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

EternalIt may be a dated and clichéd saying, but practice makes perfect. After showing great promise on their It's Time(1) EP, Florida's Butterfly Messiah digs deep, finds its niche and delivers their finest effort to date, the stylish and sincere Eternal.

For Today opens with a solid, expert dance beat, establishing a confident pace to Eternal. Shannon Lyn Garson's vocals have sharpened; she and her mates Robert Davis and Joshua Harrington mean business with this vibrant jam that turns aggressive on The Circle, a song with Revenge-esque edginess, a sinister trip melody that is likewise delicious. Shannon Lyn Garson's Goth swoons deliver a sharp interface to this hard dance number. It's Time is, of course, a carryover from the EP and might be considered a cheap fill-in weren't it possibly Butterfly Messiah's signature song. The exhilarating chorus alone is a perfect realization of the trio's strengths that have increased twofold since their debut, Priestess(2).

Eternal takes an old school groove and gives it a Gothic upgrade. Garson's vocals are possessive as they are straightforward. Her trademark Medieval-like sways are noticeably absent in what could be construed as a throwback pop song influenced by Flock of Seagulls or Erasure. With Roses continues this trend with its timeless beatbox tempo even more akin to Erasure than the title track. The keyboard sequences on With Roses are a clever touch. Not exactly a typical Butterfly Messiah song, but a highly enjoyable foray into classic alternative.

Virtual is stripped down to a quick dance tempo with singular melody notes that are almost monophonic, yet they guide the assertive tempo as the group integrates a good mix of Garson's vocals. Grey is laid-back and sultry, reminiscent of mid-career Depeche Mode, while Ascension features a highlight reel of Garson's capabilities which accents an otherwise derivative song. Robert Davis' whispers on Ascension lend an air of mystery unfurled by the peppy double-time key strikes in the latter half of the song. Believe is a ballady synth pool in which Garson swims delightedly.

Falling Stars is the crowning achievement of Eternal, a daring and often tricky song that has verses of trip-hop ala Chemical Brothers, then assumes a glorious and divine chorus with ear-pleasing high notes from both the synths and Garson's voice. When Falling Stars shifts gears again in the next stanza, it appears to be a totally different song, a skillful swap to a piano melody treated with a synth effect that sounds like a cyber rupture of its deep bass background. Masterfully woven, Falling Stars gives way to the calypso orientation of Aeon, then concluded by the pounding dance floor finale, Counterstrike, which thumps along in Eternal's exodus.

Butterfly Messiah may well be one of the premiere electronica artists of its time. The hard work this band has subjected itself to is evident on Eternal. With some love from house DJs, Butterfly Messiah may soon become a household name of the genre along with Paul Oakenfold or Faithless. Creamfields, here they come.

(1) Reviewed in Legends #130.
(2) Reviewed in Legends #129.
Contact Information:
The Fossil Dungeon
Post: 43796 Tattinger Ter, Ashburn, VA, 20148-3125, USA

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