December is invariably a great month for musical discovery; less albums are being released but more people are combing into the year that has gone by and finding overlooked gems. Case in point, Ethnor‘s Exile. This excellent EP was introduced to me by Noyan just before our podcast and boy is it good; it digs a bit deeper into the whole “deathc metal with oriental influences” thing that Shokran have been exploring for a while and adds a ton of progressive flourishes. The result is an album that knows how to be heavy as all hell when it wants to, experimental and moody at other times and overall incredibly interesting and complex. Let’s head on down below for your first taste and meet afterwards to discuss!
After the instrumental and extremely oriental intro track, “Of Ashes and Blood” wastes absolutely no time. Ushered in with huge riffs and drums which might remind you of Gods of Eden, “Of Ashes and Blood” continues to completely mess about with your expectations of what it should contain. The synths are loud and incredibly weird at points, leaning towards the industrial and the glitchy in their tone and delivery, while still returning to the “accompanying” role so common in progressive metal. The vocals take note from the aforementioned Shokran and perhaps ETHS‘ latest work (reminder that that album is crazy good) but add more avant-garde screams in the back and expressive clean passages alongside a few intensely heavy and guttural passages.
Speaking of these clean passages, the following track, “Desert Winds”, prominently features them alongside darkwave era Ulver instrumentation. This creates a brooding middle of the album that transforms it from “only” a collection of great and heavy tracks into something much more complex. I could probably write hundreds of additional words on everything going on on the rest of the album and this is only an EP! I urge you to give this album some time as 2017 winds down; you won’t regret it. Keep your eye out for Ethnor; if they can keep it together and deliver another, full length album of this quality, they’re going to be a recognized name very soon.