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Ephel Duath (Italy) - 2003 - "The Painter's Palette"
(46 min, Elitist: a division of Earache)


1. The Passage
2. The Unpoetic Circle
3. Labyrinthine
4. Praha
5. The Picture
6. Ruins
7. Ironical Communion
8. My Glassy Shelter
9. The Other's Touch

All music & lyrics: by Tiso.


Davide Tiso - guitars
Lucio Lorusso George - black vocals
Davide Tolomei - melodic vocals
Fabio Fecchio - basses
Davide Piovesan - drums
Mr. X - trombone (on 1, 4, 6, 7, & 9)

Produced by Paso.
Engineered by Muttley & Paso at Studio 73.

Prolusion. Ephel Duath is an Italian band led by the young musician, composer, and lyricist Davide Tiso. Their debut album, "Phormula", was released in 2000 and had a fantastic feedback from the international press, after which the people at the British (transatlantic, in fact) label Earache offered Davide an important long-term agreement, via their new sub-label Elitist. In 2002, Earache / Elitist reprinted "Phormula" with the addition of bonus tracks giving birth to "Rephormula". After nearly a year of hard work, the band returned with "The Painter's Palette". According to the CD press kit, this is a very original and picturesque album.

Synopsis. "The Painter's Palette" is a full concept album, the stylistics of which represents a mobile blend of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, and Black Metal with elements of Art-Rock and Free Jazz, i.e. just > Fifth Element, and is indeed very imaginative and highly innovative. (Nevertheless, I think that these guys are familiar with the creation of Watchtower, Voivod, and Sean Malone in general and such their albums as "Control & Resistance", "Dimension Hatross", and "Focus", in particular.) Well, picturesque album - picturesque review... The Passage, The Unpoetic Circle, The Picture, Ruins, My Glassy Shelter, and The Other's Touch (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, & 9). The opening track of the album, introducing into the musical world of Ephel Duath, will be the test for any listener. Scientifically speaking, this music is very eccentric and its construction is beyond the common forms typical for Academic music. In other words, this is the music of non- Euclidean spheres where parallel lines can easily cross each other, and discords create a marvelous harmony. Very eclectic and completely unpredictable arrangements, filled with cascades of unusual, yet, highly virtuosi solos and riffs of electric and bass guitar and the wild solos of saxophone, crossing each other by seemingly impossible parabolas, rush, stop, flow, and rush again to the accompaniment of highly intricate drumming. A wide-variety of different musical directions: power, brutal, soft, and a lot of those indescribable change each other both suddenly and kaleidoscopically with the alternation of black and melodic vocals and the use of exclusively complex time signatures, etc, again, and over. All of this is on the whole typical for each the aforementioned tracks. The only significant exception here is the absence of saxophone on tracks 2, 5, & 8, and since the parts of this instrument determine the free-jazzy constituent of the album's predominant stylistics, these three are free from elements of Free Jazz. Colors and shades: from strongly red (and even IR) to ultra-violet, then back to yellow, again forward, back to front, inside out, and the other way round. Kaleidoscope is the word (which, in my honest opinion, is just great). The Picture features the high-speed guitar solo resembling that of violin and the keyboard effects. Praha (4) is the only instrumental piece on "The Painter's Palette" and doesn't feature any elements of Black Metal. Also, this is one of the two tracks on the album, the music on which is on the whole much quieter and, at the same, jazzier than that on any of the other tracks here. There are not that many of the distinctly opposing forces on Praha. Colors and shades: pink, green, and pale blue. Another track, sounding both quieter and jazzier than others, is the song Ironical Communion (7). In its turn, Ironical Communion is the only stroke of "The Painter's Palette" that contains the synthesizer-like passages and the parts of semi-acoustic guitar. Prevalent colors: yellow and green. Finally, Labyrinthine (3) consists for the most part of heavy and harsh structures, so the color associations it evokes are painted mostly with red and brown. Like the aforementioned The Unpoetic Circle, The Picture, and My Glassy Shelter, Labyrinthine is also free from elements of Free Jazz.

Conclusion. On "The Painter's Palette" Ephel Duath look as the most talented, original, and inventive followers of the legacy of the bands and performers pioneered uniting such seemingly incompatible styles as Metal and Jazz: Sieges Even, Watchtower, Cynic, John Zorn, to name just a few. Furthermore, these youngsters, yet, early developers reached the elevations that none of the other artists working in this genre had set foot on. If you're always eager for something really fresh in music and aren't limited by any stylistic and complexity-related framework, don't miss this masterpiece on any account.

VM: May 22, 2003

Related Links:

Ephel Duath
Elitist Records (banner is featured in > Links of Prog)
Earache Records Inc


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