Ephel Duath


Ephel Duath - RePhormula ©2002 Earache
1. The Embossed
2. Greynesses Grow Already Old
3. The Danza
4. The Flickering Warmth
5. Myriads
6. Phormula
7. The Blow's Rhymers
8. Insomnia's Desert
9. Embossed (On The Corpse)
10. Instinkt
11. Opera I
12. Adulta Hieme: The Magnificence
13. Falling...

Oh, the trials and tribulations of ambitious musicians and their technology! Ephel Duath is an example of a band whose overall presentation of music coupled with their desire to cram a million bits into each song ultimately dooms their music to tedious mediocrity.

RePhormula is essentially a repackaging of the band's 2000 debut Phormula with a couple (useless and wretched) remix song as well as three demo tracks. So overall, you will get a thorough overview of this duo's approach to extreme music. And the overview is not all that pretty. Ephel Duath's overall sound is essentially black metal mixed with an electronic edge. You could call this Dødheimsgard in Lite Sleepwear. The guitars utilize that thin, Abigor-esque treble approach while they use a whole bevy of keyboards and programmed drums. And apparently these two come up with a lot of riffs in their spare time because each song uses about twenty. Changes are often quick in coming, unpredictable and almost always so abrupt that the song's flow is never established. There is a certain art form to this hodge-podge approach to music that bands like Mr. Bungle have displayed immense talent in creating. However, Ephel Duath is miles away from pulling it off with any degree of skill. RePhormula is mostly aggravating as there are plenty of short, interesting bits, but the mechanical rhythms take away the organic breath of life that the music needs.

Apparently after this release, half the Ephel Duath membership went away (well, it was one guy, but where's the drama in that?) and the remaining member ultimately drafted a full band to persevere onwards. Needless to say, despite moments of intrigue, anything would be a step in right direction after the mess of Rephormula.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2004

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The Painter's Palette

Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette ©2003 Earache
1. The Passage (pearl Grey)
2. The Unpoetic Circle (bottle Green)
3. Labyrinthine (crimson)
4. Praha (ancient Gold)
5. The Picture (bordeaux)
6. Ruins (deep Blue And Violet)
7. Ironical Communion (amber)
8. My Glassy Shelter (dirty White)
9. The Other's Touch (amaranth)

Back in 1998, when Italy's Ephel Duath's demo came out, I remember being thoroughly unimpressed by the band's inability to produce compelling material out of obviously interesting but poorly-assembled ideas. That's why my enthusiasm was very near the top of my carpet pile when I heard that their new album was out. And boy was I wrong, for this album is a veritable gem.

Far from the standard-black-metal-cum-wacky-other-stuffness of their previous work, this album is truly unique, with its blend of technical jazzy-metal runs la Cynic, unexpected mood changes, muted trumpet, melodic and shrieked vocals, funky slap bass ("Labyrinthine") and swinging drum beats. The material is very complex and performed flawlessly, yet never falls into the trap of coldly calculated progmetal stiffness. Some of the breaks do wander off a bit too far into complex-for-its-own-sake wackoland, and the lead guitar parts are a tad insecure, but on the whole everything on this record sounds just right, even when it sounds remarkably wrong (which happens regularly).

It would be pointless to try to describe the music and hope to do it justice. Let us just say that this ambitious album truly pushes the envelope and consistently lands on its feet, unlike Solefald's disappointing Neonism. The Painter's Palette is a serious contender to the album-of-the-year title, and ranks way up there with such remarkable excursions as Solefald's debut and Arcturus' La Masquerade Infernale.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2003

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