Ea - _A Etilla_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (5.5 out of 10)
After trudging the mire for nine years now as the entity that goes by the name Ea, recording four studio albums prior to the current _A Etilla_, this mysterious American band still haven't cracked the code for delivering good funeral doom. I must disclose the fact that I am familiar with only the band's previous, self-titled recording _Ea_; however, from the bits and pieces of information gathered regarding this band's activity in the field of music, an educated guess would have to be they have learned nothing -- or if they have learned something, it is how to ruin perfectly potent, promising and intriguing song prologues that could have developed into something truly grand -- and instead, allowing the inevitable, uninspired funeral doom clichés to reign supreme, time and again.

_A Etilla_ has nothing new to say; not as an aesthetic statement in general, nor as an evolutionary step compared to the previous album, however minor. This band makes one feel suspicious in regards to whether or not the only excuse for its existence is the gimmickry: using an alleged ancient text from a dead language, not disclosing the lyrics (obviously), keeping the band member(s) unknown. The only technical information one can derive is that the band hail from the United States; that they have been active under this moniker since 2005 and that they are signed to the Russian label Solitude Productions, who's been endorsing them since the beginning.

And still, Ea is rather a big name in the doom circles; a highly respectable band. The question is why? Not because of the band's musical merits, I can tell you that much. Is imagery (or non-imagery in this case, which is also sort of a gimmick) such a strong notion it can overshadow the better judgment of the listeners regarding the quality of the music? In one word: yes. In more than one word: look at the power of imagery / gimmickry (coupled with Internet hype) in relation to the Australian band Portal, for instance, and how much this band is being praised despite their utter lack of talent. It's like the Emperor's new clothes fable: we are being convinced there's something so unique and elated going on in there, that is completely beyond our grasp, and it is our feeble mind that cannot understand the genius behind their "music". But hey, Portal force-feed us with their unearthly image; they wear bizarre costumes on their shows (strange robes and pointed hats), and they remain anonymous (how cool!), and they are into Lovecraft and shit, and the cover art of their albums is so wretched and mysterious. So the music -must- be good, right?! Right...

Remove the image, forget abut the gimmicks Ea use, pull down the shroud of mystery, and all you are left with is an album that's nothing but a pale, unattractive, dull and tiring funeral doom of the lower kind, that drags on and on for 50 minutes with absolutely nothing that's going on in there to call this album worthy. You can't even skip a track, as there's only that one, single, almost-fifty minutes track, forcing you to sit through the whole recording and wait until something interesting happens.

If you had known better, you would have come to realize the wait was over after the opening five minutes of the album. It's uncanny how such a grand and utterly beautiful album opening dwindled into these watered-down remaining 45 minutes. I'm almost tempted to say the album is worth keeping in one's collection just based on those first, purely magical five minutes. Almost.

The album starts off with a sample of water ebbing and some monk-like charming, high-pitched religious chants, coalescing a heartbeat later with a distorted electric guitar playing some beautiful riffs comprised of few, simple, sustained chords, and very basic keyboard tunes that wrap everything in this velvety, dreamy darkness. The outcome is mesmerizing, perplexing and infinitely beautiful.

From there the music deteriorates fast into being one big lump of cliché, and the downfall from that radiating crest Ea have established during those mere first few minutes of the album is painful and virtually heartbreaking.

If you happen to like your doom metal mysterious and extremely melodic, and you're a fan of a heavy usage of keyboards -- go and listen to the new The Howling Void album, for instance. If you like your funeral doom shallow and pedestrian, check out _A Etilla_, by all means; or the band's previous work, _Ea_, which is basically the same.

_A Etilla_ is melodic funeral doom by numbers, almost. Taken straight out of the manual, this album is an aural sketch painted by numbers. If Ea had only kept up with the magnificent album introduction, we would have had an entirely different conversation here.

Contact: http://solitude-prod.com/

(article published 12/8/2014)


ALBUMS
11/4/2012 C Drishner 5.5 Ea - Ea
10/24/2009 Q Kalis 9 Ea - II
7/24/2007 Q Kalis 9 Ea - Ea Taesse
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