|The year 2002 saw the release of The Ethereal's first release 'From Funeral Skies'. It was a project by Stijn van Cauter, known from a multitude of projects in today's underground doom scene.|
Originally everyone believed The Ethereal had one mysterious main member and that Stijn merely did guest vocals and violins on the album, and had lent his Templa Libitina studio for its recording. It later turned out that the ever illustrious Stijn was merely playing tricks on us, even doing a few interviews from the "mysterious guy's" perspective. Since then it has been silent around the project.
Enough looking into the past though, as The Ethereal is once again at large. Recently, Stijn, now revealed as the mastermind of yet another project, re-recorded 'From Funeral Skies' and one additional track, which now is the title track. The idea was, after a relative succes with Until Death Overtakes Me's release on Firebox Records, to get this album released as well. A deal with Totentroll Records was made, but sadly the release has never seen the light of day so far. [edit by author: This album has now been signed, and will be officially released in late 2005 by Marche Funebre Productions.]
And that is a pity. I was already greatly impressed with the cold, bleak style of the original, but that feeling is multiplied several times over on this reworked version. The elements praised in the above review are all there, of course, but they all benefit greatly from the vast improvement in production that is present on the album. Everything, particularly the guitar, sounds clearer, and that only heightens the feeling that this music is meant to tear straight through you. Besides that, the different accompanying instruments such as piano and violin are more clearly distinguishable on the new version.
The addition of the title track is also a good thing. The new song pushes the album towards the 60-minute mark, which is always a good thing in doom. The song follows in suit with the rest of the tracks, but stands out clearly and makes the new version interesting to those who already own the original release.
This new version is definitely an improvement, compared to the older version, and by no means reduntant. I'd say the difference in quality is greater than is the case with many other re-releases.
As a last thought, I'd like to urge interested underground labels to pick this one up, as it will definitely make a fine release. This is one of the heaviest things Stijn has ever recorded, and definitely the most "doom-metal". Contact Stijn through his website at www.nulll-void.com.
1. Beyond All Dreams
2. Your Creation
4. From Funeral Skies
Duration : Approx. 58 minutes
Visit the The Ethereal bandpage.