Ephel Duath - Pain Necessary To Know - 2005 - Earache Records
1. New Disorder 1. Vector, Third Movement 2. Pleonasm 3. Few Stars, No Refrain and a Cigarette 4. Crystalline Whirl 5. I Killed Rebecca 6. Vector 7. Vector, Second Movement 8. Imploding
Ephel Duath, a relative newcomer to the scene of metal having released their first demo only in 1999, have since then already released four full-length albums, the most recent of those being last year’s ‘Pain Necessary To Know’. In short order, they leapt from relative obscurity to the top-tier of first Elitist Records, and then parent company Earache when Elitist went under.
They are often touted as being the absolute edge of progressive metal; rarely have I read any dissenting reviews or heard any disparaging comments regarding their albums.
Honestly, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Some fuss is merited, surely. The band’s musical talent is obvious and they are indeed creative in terms of time signatures, keys, etc. However, the claims that this band is ‘essential’ and ‘mind-blowing’ are overstated. While always up for a new take on music, I do still appreciate discernable song structures, and for the most part ‘Pain Necessary To Know’ lacks this until the last few tracks, at which point it is too late. To exacerbate the chaotic nature of Ephel Duath’s sound, since this is a promotional copy from Earache it was spilt into 99 tracks to ‘prevent mp3 ripping’, and more than once have I put on this album, hit play, and not realized that my media player was on shuffle until about six or seven tracks had passed in non-sequential order. ‘Pain Necessary To Know’ scuffles along, bombarding me with staccato blasts sound and dissonance, which, while initially engaging, eventually subside to the equivalent of background static.
Later tracks, such as ‘Imploding’ or ‘Vector (2nd Movement)’ do a much better job of stringing together ideas in a digestible, cohesive whole of a track. However, I still have a difficult time really distinguishing one song from another, seeing as they all leap back and forth from atonal guitar sequences to distorted clashes, while vocalist Luciano Lorusso shrieks monotonously, without real direction or focus.
I enjoyed some of Ephel Duath’s earlier work, both vocally and instrumentally. While on ‘Pain Necessary To Know’ their standards of production have increased, I cannot say as much for their songwriting. Almost entirely gone are the compelling melodies; gone are the vocal variations (which were few to begin with). What is left is indeed impressing, but hardly moving.
For those who find this to be stunning and completely new, I recommend to you a band named King Crimson. Not only are they masters of progressive, challenging, and genre-defying music, but their first album was also released close on 40 years ago-- far before Ephel Duath’s inception and likely before the members of the band were even born. Color me disillusioned, but aside from a few cute perks, this album does not live up to its hype.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details