CD REVIEW Ephel Duath

Band: Ephel Duath
Title: On Death And Cosmos
Label: Agonia Records
Distribution: Agonia Records
Release date: 21/06/2012
Review: MCD / EP

Ephel Duath, another name for Tolkien’s Shadow Mountains, used to be one of Italy’s craziest bands. I could really appreciate their eccentric mixture of Black-oriented Metal and Progressive / Avant-garde / Experimental / Psychotic / Electronic / Mathematic / Grinding / Industrial / … stuff, even though even I needed a break from time to time when undergoing this madness.

A couple of years ago, however, frontman Davide Tiso decided to put the band on hiatus because of different reasons, like line-up issues and financial-economic struggles. He moved to the U.S. in mean time, and recently he reformed his act with three very experienced musicians to complete his newly written material. And believe me, these persons aren’t the least of the scene. The vocals are done by Davide’s newly-married wife Karyn Crisis, known from her self-called band (she did, for example, also once co-operate with Six Feet Under), bass parts are provided by Steve DiGiorgio (think: Anatomy Of I, Death, Sadus, Control Denied, Testament, Vintersorg, a.m.m.), and the album features drum assistance of Marco Minnemann, who did work with, for example, Kreator, Tony MacAlpine, Painstyle or Necrophagist. On top of it, mixing duties were done at Mana Recording Studio by Eric Rutan (Malevolent Creation, The Funeral Pyre, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse, Vital Remains etc., etc., etc.), while the mastering was taken care of et West West Side Music (Baroness, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Mastodon, Death, Nervecell and so on) by Alan Douches. Now it’s time for you to softly breathe a modest ‘waw’… No, I guess guitar player Davide wanted to work with the best to elaborate what he had in mind, and this certainly has to do as well with the concept behind the musical expression of this resurrection: loss, abandonment and personal / spiritual growth after experiencing loss and abandonment.

Musically On Death And Cosmos differs somewhat from the past. Of course it’s still based on eccentrism and experiment, yet the whole comes with another approach. The three tracks, with a total running time of almost twenty minutes, did progress into a modernistic concept. The whole sounds less absurd, yet it comes with increased experience. What strikes me is the technical side, which did evolve enormously. Gone are the overload on neo-jazzy spasms of old (not gone completely, yet the permanent malignancy; the final track, “Stardust Rain”, still contains lots of Jazz-laden foolery, especially when it comes to the guitar leads and drum patterns), so be welcome tippy contrivance and Post-oriented patchwork. The latter is clearly audible at the beginning of “Raqia”, for example, which also gives a certain Sludge-approach away. I think it’s a pity the bass parts aren’t mixed very clearly at all. Steve D. might be one of the Metal World’s most famous and experienced bassists, but in this case he’s like non-existent. And another negative remark might be Karyn’s grunts and screams, which are much too laborious and strained, unfortunately.

On Death And Cosmos is a very difficult one to undergo, so beware…!...

70/100

Ivan Tibos.