HOURGLASS SANDS OF ETERNITY, Journey to Infinity (2002, Secret Port)
If there’s one thing that we Friars love on our metal covers as much as as a skull, it’s an hourglass, and the ludicrously named Hourglass Sands of Eternity brings it all together with this excellent double whammy. I love that either the headband or the skull was painted without regard for where the other would go, I love that the weirdly shaped skull is actually weeping sandy tears, I love that the bony leg on the right is broken, I love it all. And while watching an hourglass empty is about as far from a “journey” as you can get, this cover nevertheless communicates exactly what you’re gonna get from the music.
I will admit to owning an awful lot of discs like this: a hamhanded mix of true metal and progressive metal played badly and produced worse, but for whatever reason I never acquired a copy of this particular release. HSOE (as I’ll abbreviate them) are a Greek band, and Greek prog metal is almost never good, but it’s probably just dumb luck that a vendor I patronized back in the early 00s didn’t foist this one on me. I would have taken it in a heartbeat, based on the cover alone. The songs are dull, in that ponderous would-be-proggy way, and the singing is fairly bad, although certainly no worse than any of the playing. All in all, this squarely inhabits that dread zone of mediocrity where abide all those bands just good enough to not merit special scorn. But even though it’s been over ten years since this, the band’s only release, HSOE are allegedly still active, so there’s still time (har har) for them to salvage their reputation. Hopefully they try that with a skull, too.
— Friar Johnsen