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(EchO) : Devoid of Illusions

On this convincing, utterly beautiful album, Italian newcomers (Echo) have come up with their own take on Melodic Death Doom.

For a longstanding fan of a specific genre, it must always be one of the greatest experiences to see that there are still new talents who come up with a fresh take on the style and give some new impulses. The Italian band (Echo) is such a case, presenting us with their own idea of Melodic Death Doom on their debut album Devoid of Illusions. Their beautiful, eclectic compositions are loaded with atmosphere and flavoured with Psychedelic Rock influences while maintaining a close bond to the essentials of Doom Metal all the time.

There are many calm, fragile passages with a strong emphasis on atmosphere and great melodies, much in the vein of Opeth, especially when psychedelic lead guitars are present. A clear difference to said band, however, is the central role the piano plays in most of these passages. The Italians show their talent for minimalist, but effective arrangements in the excellent Post-Rock piece “Once Was a Man” in particular, which remains calm almost in its entirety. But on the other hand, they do not shy away from ultra-heavy Death Doom riffing and faster, aggressive passages from time to time. Many of the songs are characterised by such contrasts but integrate the different elements in a very organic way, avoiding sharp collisions most of the time. The arrangements are so refined that listeners can dive into the emotions of the music and give in to its flow from beginning to end.

The instrumental work on this album is excellent throughout – very precise and purposeful and free from any misplaced or unnecessary notes. The same is true for the vocals which switch effectively between growling and clean singing, always considerate of the specific needs of the song. The singing may be too soft and “un-Metal” for some purists, but it fits the calmer moments perfectly in its fragility, adding a lot of emotional depth to the overall picture. In fact, a singing style like this is very rare in Doom Metal and thus a welcome addition here. It is tempting to think of Opeth once again, but also the more recent Katatonia releases come to mind. The only downside to the vocals is the heavy accent, but many bands have gotten away with that because of the sheer quality of their music, and there is no reason to deny (Echo) this privilege.

Greg Chandler (Esoteric) has once again done a great job with recording and production duties at his Priory Recording Studios, giving the album a crystal clear and powerful production to fully exhaust its potential. He also contributes some guest vocals on the closing track “Sounds from out of Space” which are intense as always and add another dimension to the album. A highly interesting and original cover artwork tops things off.

Devoid of Illusions is a beautiful album from a very promising band which deserves your attention.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Intro 2. Summoning the Crimson Soul
3. Unforgiven March
4. The Coldest Land
5. Internal Morphosis
6. Omnivoid
7. Disclaiming My Faullts
8. Once Was a Man
9. Sounds From out of Space

Duration : Approx. 65 minutes

Visit the (EchO) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-12-05 by Dominik Sonders
Aesthetic Death
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