Ether Coven – Everything is Temporary Except Suffering (Century Media Records, 10 January 2020)
Ok, first things first — isn’t that a fantastic title? Really sounds like it was lifted straight from some Woods of Ypres lyrics or something, doesn’t it?
Well technically, it was lifted from Ether Coven lyrics, as the phrase appears a few times in the opening track from the Floridian band’s second album, released exactly one month ago today, which we will be diving into starting right now…
Speaking of titles that are evocative of a particular mood: “This House is a Tomb of Memories” is the name of the eleven-minute song referred to above; later we find one called “As the Noose of the Ever Changing World Tightens Around Your Neck.” If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the general sensation of the album is one of malaise.
This mood is built using one part Neurosis-esque, disconsolate post-hardcore with harsh yelling; and one part doomy/ambient/gothic stylings with latter-day Woods of Ypres minor-key baritone crooning (either singly or dually harmonized).
Some of the songs (“Flower Crown,” “Of Bitterness and Shame,” and — ironically — “When Quiet Fell”) are mostly or entirely of the yelly hardcore, chuggy riff variety; while others (the somber and dark “House of Strangers,” the stripped down instrumental “The Burden of Loss”) are completely acoustic/clean sounds, filed someplace midway between Pallbearer and Ancient VVisdom, perhaps.
But elsewhere, the two styles coincide if not outright collide: gentle ambient bits, soft strings and acoustic guitar chords, bassy clean singing; then suddenly swapping over to yelling, occasionally some sort of a hybrid of post-metal with glacial doom, and with a few flecks of post-black metal scattered in for good measure.
At some point during “Enjoy Life” (the longest track here at about thirteen minutes), the band edges into blastbeat territory amidst several bona fide epic doom riffs; and the album concludes with the appropriately-named “Unravel”: a few more minutes of epic doom, once again featuring glimpses of all the various vocal styles heretofore represented.
Everything is Temporary Except Suffering would be highly recommended for fans of any of the other artists mentioned here, but upon repeated listens you’ll soon discover that this material is in fact much more than just a sum of its constituent parts. So go stream/download it here, or check out merch bundles with various vinyl/CD/t-shirt combinations from Century Media right here.
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