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Ephrat - No One's Words CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.63 | 90 ratings

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5 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"No One's Words" by Israeli proggers, Ephrat, is a great debut CD and gives a hopeful glimpse of more to come.

Now, I will start off with this, when I imported the tracks from e-Music into iTunes, iTunes misordered the tracks such that I started the CD out with track two (Haze) and ended with track one (The Show). In retrospect, I kind of liked it that way, "The Show" runs directly into "Haze", when you break the two up over the course of an album; it gives an interesting bit of closure when the final notes of "The Show" echo what seemed like the beginning of the album. Nonetheless, after two weeks of listening to it, I've corrected the playlist and we're ready to rock.

For starters, I think Steven Wilson did a great job mixing this album. It sounds fantastic. Normally, I like the keyboards to play a more prominent role, but they are subtle and appropriate throughout the album. On the other hand, the guitar is anything but subtle, Ephrat's guitar work is rather melodic even when he's bouncing back and forth between clean and dirty, each chord sounds as if it's been carefully compiled. The rhythm section is tight and able to shift courses at the drop of a hat, and the rare synthesized techno beat only adds to the overall package.

The vocals are outstanding. There are obvious Beatles references and the addition of guest musicians Daniel Gildenlow and Petronella Nettermalm add additional layers of complexity to an already rich musical experience. Finally, the Middle Eastern flair throughout the CD puts this one over the edge. The flute work is hauntingly beautiful.

"The Show" starts out the CD with a subdued electronic beat that builds anticipation for about fifteen seconds before the rest of the band crashes in with a wall of sound that sets the tone for the album. From there, a round of almost Porcupine Tree sounding vocals takes you through the song proper. Finally at about the half way point, the sound drops to a low, but tension filled solo section with the guitar and flute echoing each other. This is beautifully done.

After a minute of ethnic rhythms and Nettermalm warbling, "Haze" continues with more of the complexities that started in "The Show", utilizing the mellow voice of Nettermalm alternating with the wall of sound created by the full band and Ephrat's guitar.

"Better Than Anything" is one of my favorites on this album, it starts out as a soft ballad highlighted again by the vocals and flute. This progresses through a series of styles; middle eastern, Beatles, and heavy prog. Finally, the big ending is magnificant; Ephrat's vocal harmonies are beautiful. In the last minutes of the song, there was either an un-credited appearance by Marco Gluhmann (Sylvan) or someone is doing a haunting impression of him. The last few minutes of this song are not to be missed.

"Blocked" is an ok song, it's an instrumental piece that sounds like it could have been worked somewhere into an epic. In my mind, it doesn't stand so well on its own. It's not a bad song, just more along the lines of filler than the rest of the album.

The first three minutes of 'The Sum of Damage Done" is the only weak part on the album. It's just a basic heavy rift without a lot of imagination. On the bright side, the last seven minutes are brilliant; Gildenlow's vocals combine with Ephrat's for some beautiful harmonies.

"Real" is the eighteen minute closer to the album and wow, this is a great song. I'm not going to give a blow by blow description of this song. Instead, I'll say this, the song is worthy of five stars and incorporates the following styles seamlessly: Heavy Metal, Techno, Beatles Pop, Middle Eastern World Music, Heavy Progressive . . . effectively, it acts as a beautiful sum of the entire album complete with the reoccurring theme tying the whole piece together.

To sum, this is an album not to be missed. When I started writing, I was going to give it four stars (4.4 actually), but I've convinced myself that it's worthy of a five star rating. This is a great album by a new artist that should appeal to fans of Porcupine Tree, The Beatles and World Music.

Roland113 | 5/5 |


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