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Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette CD (album) cover

THE PAINTER'S PALETTE

Ephel Duath

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.00 | 117 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars THIS is Jazz Metal

I love jazz. I love metal. I have been on a long long search for a true marriage of the styles, and I've ventured down some bizarre rabbit holes in the process. THE PAINTER'S PALETTE has actually been on my radar for several years, but the extreme elements initially put me off and I never really gave it the time it deserved. However, the album kept pulling me back for another peek. Now I feel it is one of the best examples of an album that has true sensibilities of both jazz and metal, rather than being rooted in one and toying with the other. (such as Atheist or Panzerballet) This is the kind of album that is the reward of exploring obscure paths. This is the good stuff we insane music nerds save for ourself.

The range of sound on this album is vast. The opener, "The Passage (Pearl Grey)" begins with a syncopated clean guitar line that quickly morphs into a metallic riff not unlike Opeth but with a chaotic trumpet screaming above. From there, we get a frenetic interchange of metalcore vocals, jazz drumming, clean melodies, and clean grooving breaks. There is certainly a Bungle-ish sense of juxtaposition, but the Ephel Duath makes the rapid stops much more coherent. As other reviewers have said, despite the immense variation, it just works.

If jazz rock had begun in 2005 instead of 1970, it would likely sound like "Praha (Ancient Gold)." Here, a mournful trumpet meanders and intertwines with an increasingly overdriven guitar over a distinctly swinging beat. The rock elements are more rooted in punk and metal than blues and psychedelia, creating a clearly modern, though very organic, sound. "Unpoetic Circle (Bottle Green)" sports a suprisingly memorable melody whose lyric is appropriately intellectual for the target audience. The guitar and drum tones are extremely natural, eschewing the over- production of many contemporary prog and metal acts. (Perhaps the band's black metal roots show a little there).

I am not a fan of -core vocals, and this was the main reason it took me so long to come around to loving this album. But they do make sense in context, and are not overused. Weaving in with the clean melodic singing, and prominence of the instrumental grooves, they become part of the overall texture of the music. The harshness is a bit frontloaded on the album, and by the end of the 9 tracks, the metalcore elements leave less impression than the jazz and proggy elements.

To be clear, this is a modern prog fan's paradise. Complex rhythm, harmony, high levels of musicianship, composed lines, all the things I love about the genre in general are here in spades. But Ephel Duath has put these familiar ideas together in a combination that exists nowhere else. It does take some time to really let the feel connect, but once it has, this is one of the jewels of extreme prog metal.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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