|On their new self-titled album, Ea explore the most majestic and melodic sides of Funeral Doom in a captivating way.|
Two years after their phenomenal – if somewhat controversial – album ’Au Ellai’, Ea unleash their fourth, self-titled release which consists of a single long track. The obscurity of the band members’ identity as well as their alleged use of ancient languages have been discussed exhaustively enough in earlier reviews, so let us solely concentrate on the music this time.
The new album is certainly more complex than its predecessor and therefore likely to be a positive surprise for those who perceived ’Au Ellai’ as a too accessible and uninspired effort. Ea is also more diverse stylistically: It even contains two faster doublebass passages, the second of which features rocking power chords in the rhythm guitar as well as blackish screams – elements which are uncommon to the band’s sound. In direct comparison to the last album, there are fewer solos and recurring motifs. Furthermore, the drums are more minimalist this time and do almost completely without the weird fills which were typical of earlier releases. The latter development is wisely chosen by the musicians because it helps maintain the hypnotic flow of the music.
Despite these minor changes, this album is unlikely to disappoint any long-standing fan, for in essence it still embodies the style Ea are known for: Majestic and melodic Funeral Doom drenched in an atmosphere of utter melancholy and hopeless yearning. In fact, the 47 minutes of this track really take the stylistic trademarks to their very extreme – this is Funeral Doom at its most majestic and melodic! The atmosphere is very intense, at certain points it becomes almost suffocating, and this alone is a huge achievement in songwriting. Powerful chords and repetitive drum patterns set the basis for the ultra-slow arrangements, while the characteristic meandering lead guitar and omnipresent keyboards with sounds of choirs, organ and strings (even some pizzicato strings can be heard in the background at one point) weave intricate textures of melody. Cheerless female vocals can be heard throughout a short section, calling to mind the first Shape of Despair album with its elegant balance of beauty and utter bleakness. All of these elements are embedded in a strong and clear production.
As a consequence of what has been said, those who prefer their Doom raw and grim will remain unsatisfied of course, but any other fan of the genre will probably be delighted. However, Ea calls for a lot of patience, open-mindedness and dedication if it is to be appreciated fully. You cannot expect it to leave much of an impression if listened to in the background on your laptop while writing your emails (for instance). Long sections of the album are entirely instrumental whereas the hoarse growls do not figure too prominently. Furthermore, the music – as always with Ea – is subtle and does not exactly bombard you with emotions upon first listen. But if you invest some attention, you will find that this album is really worth the effort. It is captivating from beginning to end and might leave you rocking to and fro on your sofa, seemingly apathetic, but in fact fully absorbed by the atmosphere and emotions on display. In all, this is a fantastic release which can make the Funeral Doom scene proud.
As a side note and humorous nod to those who are familiar with the discussion, I noticed that this is the first Ea album which does not feature the mysterious sample of haunted whispers!
Duration : Approx. 47 minutes
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