September 17, 2009

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The joyous goth
Hope Eternal Loud Music Festival embraces good fortune
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com

Eternal Embrace calls itself “a gothic doom metal band” that plays dark, brooding music. It’s a sound more orchestrated than most metal, but still pretty downbeat. Keyboard player and bandleader Eleanor Moyer likens it to “Theatre of Tragedy mixed with a band like Cradle of Filth.”

Doom metal has more time changes than death metal, which is “all the time aggressive,” Moyer said. To the uninitiated, this may seem like the distinction between being run over by a car and being machine-gunned. In a niche-rich genre like metal, however, it’s an important one.

But a few months ago, Eternal Embrace was giddy as a gumdrop pop band, positively Hannah Montana happy, when word arrived that one of its own had beaten cancer.

Carla Rae is a classically trained violinist who, along with Eternal Embrace, has performed with big names like Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Josh Groban. Early this year, she was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer. She underwent a hysterectomy and is now fully recovered.

For Eleanor Moyer, Carla Rae’s “miracle” was a call to action.

“I felt that it was amazing, and I really wanted to celebrate her recovery,” Moyer said from her home in Manchester. “I wanted to celebrate her recovery by having a really great benefit.”

So Moyer put out a general call to the Manchester music community. “I really didn’t care what style of music because I think diversity is really important,” she said. “Not everyone likes metal, and there are a lot of people who would prefer to hear something a little bit softer if they’re going out to a show.”

Her efforts became the “Hope Eternal Loud Music Festival,” an all-day show this Saturday, Sept. 19 (from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.) at Rocko’s Bar and Grille. Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, and the event will also focus on raising awareness of women’s cancer issues in general.

Moyer says the bands, which have all donated their time for the event, “basically traverse between being metal- and rock-oriented,” with a few cover bands, including an all-Black Sabbath combo. “It really does come from multiple genres and styles,” she says.

Trip-rock duo Streak had personal reasons for getting involved — the wife of a band member had a recent cancer scare.

“She’s fine,” Moyer reports, “but he felt like that was a very important moment in their relationship, and he was really happy to do this just because he had gotten so scared, and they’re very much in love.”

Several area merchants have donated items for a silent auction. The event will also include vendors offering everything from candles and jewelry to new age healing approaches like aromatherapy, Reiki and massage therapy to, Moyer said, “show some alternative ways of dealing with health matters.”

For the event, Moyer encourages people “to dress up and be loud and crazy, wear purple if you want to because that’s the color for general cancer awareness.”

Between cancer scares and other assorted medical problems, Eternal Embrace hasn’t performed many shows of late. The unsigned band is, however, recording a new demo. “It’s a more aggressive, apocalyptic style album which sort of represents the times we live in today, coming from a really romantic viewpoint,” Moyer said.

Working on the benefit has been energizing, Moyer said.

“It solidified my future plans, because I learned that there’s a lot of generosity, and I think there’s a lot of love in this community. People don’t recognize it on the surface of Manchester because it’s an old gritty mill city, but people really do work well together,” she said.


Fest!
What: Hope Eternal Loud Music Festival with Streak, In His Blood, Avariel, Eternal Embrace, Mortuus Ortus, Knightstorm, Pleasure to Burn, Supernaut, Melt, Paul Green School of Rock, Pretty Pollution
When: Saturday, Sept. 19, 1 p.m.–1 a.m.
Where: Rocko’s Bar and Grille, 253 Wilson St., Manchester
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 door, all ages, with free admission for ages 5 and under
Info: myspace.com/eternalembrace