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Ehnahre - The Man Closing Up CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With Ehnahre being composed of musicians who played in Kayo Dot, the expectations are high for fans of the latter band. I was definitely intrigued and curious to hear what direction and style would be taken by this lineup. A crude sounding mixture of sludge, doom, black metal and experimental/atmospheric/ambient metal a-la Kayo Dot (first two albums) and Pan.Thy,Monium, greets (or rather assaults) the listener in this first release by this Boston based band.

Whatever it is that they are attempting (stating atonality/12-tone serialism as the basis for their music as well as freely improvising), they manage to capture quite a captivating essence that while influenced from their "relatives" Kayo Dot, is distant enough to achieve a sound of their own. While it is interesting to understand the basis of bands composition process and style I am not adequately learned on these matters and shall leave it for others to analyze (though I can certainly hear and understand their approach).

The lyrics are said to be "based on the improvisational poetry of Donald Justice." As I do not know the output of this poet, I can't comment on that regretfully, but for those of you who know his poetry, this might be of interest for you. The music, can be fiercely demonic sounding, with raw black metal fast riffing (Part III for instance) and then become exhaustingly desperate sounding, slow-paced, yet still aggressive (beginning of Part I for example) and then move on to more laid back (yet still intense) atmospheric sections (such as in a section of Part II) . The vocals, rasp and harsh, are at times replaced with a clear voice (in Part II). Each song is quite varied within itself. Stagnation is not being employed here. There are frequent changes in tempo, mood and energy levels; the dynamic range of all of these is very appealing to me and quite accomplished in my opinion.

The overall sound is that of either an approaching apocalypse, an impending doom or that of the aftermath of such events. In Part IV for instance, an imagery of total devastation prevails in the mostly fragmented-like, free-form structure of this piece, intertwined with a middle fast paced organized black-metal-like section. If an album's purpose is to have an effect on a listener, The Man Closing Up has certainly achieved its goal with me. I find it a captivating album; as I like dynamics in music, the mingling of various sounds, styles and influences (but well done), this album strikes the right chords and riffs with me. It is dramatic scenery of fury, despair and destruction that permeates from the songs. Personally, I would recommend listening to the album in one sitting and follow the vast picture drawn by the music for the best effect. Though highly enjoyable may seem an odd thing to say about this album, it is definitely an album I'll come back to for more.

Report this review (#299783)
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Man Closing Up is the debut full-length studio album by American experimental doom/ post metal act Ehnahre. The album was released in September 2008 by Sound Devastation Records. The band is a three-piece consisting of drummer Ricardo Donoso, Ryan McGuire on Bass, Double Bass, Vocals and Percussion and John Carchia on Guitar and Vocals. The last two also hold membership of Kayo Dot.

The music on the album is of a very experimental nature. Almost avant garde at times. Were talking noisy, doomy, dissonant and at times minimalistic and droning metal with a dark and sinister atmosphere ( there are some uptempo parts in the music too). Whenever the vocals kick in youll be exposed to a really caustic and aggressive delivery. The 5 tracks on the album are all pretty long ( all exceed the 6 minute mark) and it takes a couple of listens to fully absorb what the band are trying to communicate. A big part of the sound is the long twisted doom/ drone parts which at times sound like improvisation, but still come off tightly structured. Theres great tension in those sections and when the more straight forward ( only straight forward in comparison to the more experimental parts) parts with the aggressive vocals appear its like a relief. All those minutes of building tension is almost too much for someone like me who usually crave more "busy" music, but I have to admit that it works here. There are some sections where the slow experimental "drone" goes on for a bit too long though and that drags my rating down a bit, but Im sure thats a matter of aquired taste.

The production is raw yet still very succesful.

Ehnahre are one of those acts that are pretty sure to take you by surprise. They totally twist conventions, and make an effort to create something unique and adventurous and I greatly respect that approach. I think they succeed very well in that mission. The music is almost too weird and inaccessible at times though and that makes for a very hard listen. I have to be in a certain mood to be able to get through the full album. Sometimes if Im not in the mood, the music annoys me and the album comes off quickly, but those times when Im in the right mood and I put on The Man Closing Up it works dark and bleak magic. Those days I would rate the album with 4 stars, but other days its only a 3 star rating, so I guess I end up with 3.5 stars. I find The Man Closing Up highly recommendable to the curious fan of twisted, adventurous and very unconventional doom/ post metal.

Report this review (#346452)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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