Eno, the third album from precocious Austrian five-piece Second Relation, dials down some of the metal edges audible on its predecessor Abiona and replaces them with smoother, funkier tones. That’s somewhat unexpected given the presence of producer David Castillo who has enjoyed a long collaboration with gothic metal mainstays Katatonia, but it allows the band to get groovy.
They still retain their proclivity for thoughtfully constructed songs even as the guitars of Simon Gstöhl and Julian Nachbauer sit further back in the mix, allowing Daniel Fleps’s keys to take the melodic lead. Bastian Berchtold has a high, clean voice, although his accent creeps through from time to time and his lyrics tend towards excessive verbosity. It’s a very accessible experience, from the laidback organ break of Familiar Surroundings to the funk-rock of The Essence Of The City, which shifts through a range of moods from Sly Stone to acoustic guitar passages.
Second Hand Life is a highlight, with a chunky riff from Fleps and snappy drumming from Michael Simic. With Castillo’s highly polished production, Eno is an album that could readily find a home on mainstream rock radio without non-prog listeners running for the hills.