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


Ephel Duath

Experimental/Post Metal

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5 stars This is it! Finally, my prayers were heard, EPHEL DUATH is in the archives, and now i'll explain you why...

This amazing italian band have created an unique, intense, mindblowing and beautiful form of Avant-Prog/metal. "The Painter's Palette", their sophomore effort has it all, jazzy drum structures, undescifrable guitar riffs, polirhythmia, dissonance and even black metal singing! Every song is named after a color, meaning the mood and characteristics of the piece... Ephel Duath is one of those new bands that push the boundaries of music and overcomes the big one boundary, being a metal act, to create such avant-garde music that is imaginative, overwhelming and of course, always weird.

HIghlights: The Passage (Pearl Grey), Labyrinthine (Crimson), Ironical Communion (Amber)

Report this review (#50135)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hi guys this one of the greatest progressive-metal album I've ever heard!!! This album is really amazing!!! This is a sort of jazz-metal music, two voices (growl and clean), guitar, bass, drum, drum machine and... trumpet!!!! This album is based on the concept of coulors. The artwork is black & white and the objective of the band is to "play the coulors". I can't give you any reference for the suond of the band you must listen to it!! The first time i've listen to this album I had not yet understood what it can give to me but's a delirium of conflicting human emotions. Metal riffs changes in jazzy licks, trumpet leave for screaming vocals...idefinible but just amazing!! Run to buy it!!!
Report this review (#52539)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not to sound pompous, but EPHEL DUATH was an act that deserved attention; and my next additional target besides PECCATUM. When I first discovered EPHEL DUATH, it was filed under "progressive jazz fusion black metal". I had never heard something so insane as I listened the samples. And one day, I came across "THE PAINTER'S PALLETTE" and bought it right there and then.

Now, the first thing that caught my eye was the unnatural lyrical style; the loose ends and tight spots, cryptic beyond recognition, but without a doubt expressing "something"; what that "something" may be is not very clear; but suited to the album's name, there are refferences to paintings/canvas/brush/colours; the last of which is most clear in the song names; each named after a colour.

On the vocal style, I must say that, there is a little weakness to the most amazing vocals; though their combination is beyond potent, individually looked at, there is something missing; Luciano's screams are way too loud to let words through clearly, and Davide's skimming voice is sometimes to low for anyone to hear anything. Together, especially like they do on "Labyrinthine", they achieve a higher level, so I won't hold their individual vocal styles against the act.

As for the music, I don't know where to start. From groovy jazz melodies and acoustsic drumming to black metal-style guitar grinding and twin-pedal abusing, to classical jazz/blues atmospheres to the chaotic, dark black metal-ish atmosphere, EPHEL DUATH harbors a variety of styles in its music. As the "avant-garde metal" movement was started by old black metal artists, the black metal influence is quite clear and understandable. EPHEL DUATH carries all sorts of instruments in its music, and that helps it with the experimental phase; and the mood shifts, time signatures, combined vocals make this album an extravaganza; not something to listen on the way to a dream, but something to pay attention to, take time upon.

Report this review (#60968)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the most basic of terms, Ephel Duath second album is the opus of a lifetime many experimental bands can only hope and dream of somehow stumbling onto. By mixing the odd genres of hardcore, jazz, electronica, and glimpses of their black metal base, Duath has truly created one of the most original recordings in recent memory. Sadly, they lost the talents of their clean vocalist and drummer. I have yet to purchase their newest album but if it's anything such as this masterpiece, it'll all be worth the entrance fee
Report this review (#69166)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the most interesting discs I have ever heard. It has a great concept (all the colors of a painter's palette are represented) and experimental music to go along with it. This is a mix of hardcore, jazz, and metal with some melody here and there, but mostly screamed lyrics. The lyrics themselves can be quite difficult to understand at times, but it makes this all the more eclectic. Think Herbie Hancock meets Dillinger Escape Plan, and that gives you a good idea of what this sounds like. There are many suprises that await the listener in this one, including trumpet solos out of nowhere, and tempo and rhythm changes galore. My favorite aspect of this album is the drumming. It actually sounds like the drummer is jazz-trained playing rock, instead of rock-trained trying to play jazz. It really makes all the difference in an album like this. I would say replay value is outstanding in this one, because it takes about ten listens just to figure the songs out. Then you can spend another 10 listens trying to figure out why each piece represents the color it does. So after about 20 listens, you can really dig into the music. This is truly a great work of art, and it wants you to think of it that way and not as a piece of music. Well done. One of the most creative and exciting albums I have heard in a long time.
Report this review (#124289)
Posted Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an amazing Italian band who are truly unlike anything I've ever heard before. Ephel Duath plays jazz metal, with musical ideas flowing from classical to black metal. Vocals range from hardcore screaming to melodic singing that tends to remind me of John Wetton on certain tracks. The band changes time signatures and melodies constantly, in one second you can hear beautiful fusion melodies or trumpet riffing, and in the next smashing guitar distortion. The combination of the vocals, electric and acoustic melodies, throbbing bass, jazzy drumming, and trumpet solos that seem to come of thin air end up all coming together perfectly. This album could have been a complete disaster, a mess of instruments. But it's not. Ephel Duath pulls it off with an essential album that cannot be described in words.
Report this review (#134854)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of those amazing discoveries that I made not too long ago when I was browsing for music that was new to my ears and at the same time I was browsing for music that captivated me and interested me throughout and impressed me with their music. This is one such band that I was basically blown away by their unique, head-on approach to their music.

The music is dense, spine-crushing, mysterious, weird, beautiful, somewhat catchy, and definitely avant-garde. Not only does their music blur the boundaries of many genres of music and then put them all together in this ever changing but consistently intense laser beam of music. Everything about their music is pretty intense and captivating. Even in the softer passages you just can't wander away from it for it demands your full attention to pay attention to their multi-layered sound with equally captivating vocals.

At first the casual listener may be slightly shocked at what kind of music is blasting in their ears. So this music is not really for the casual listener but its more people who are indeed looking for something exciting, unique, experimental, heavy, intense and yet uniquely beautiful and mysterious. It may take a few listens to get accustomed to their harsh sound but once you do, you'll find more beauty to their music and find yourself immersed in the interesting landscape that is of Avant-Garde Metal when its done right.

Report this review (#194699)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is truly one of the most interesting albums I have heard. Intense, dissonant, and unsettling, it is certainly unique. The band rips through blistering hardcore sections, eerie electronic noises, and even eerier Avant-Jazz with incredible musicianship and skill. I think this album is a concept album of some sort, something to do with an artist going insane it seems. Ephel Duath's use of angular melodies and disonance create an intense, deranged, atmosphere that is very unique. Tracks like "Praha", and "The Passage" (along with any part of the album with that killer trumpet player) demonstrate this perfectly.

However, I do have a few qualms with this album. The vocals, especially the clean ones, are very weak. I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to "Hardcore" vocals, so i can't really tell if Luciano George Lorusso's screams are particularly good ones, but the clean vocals really stand out as being underdeveloped. Honestly, any suburban teenager singing with his garage band could probably do as good.

One of my biggest dissapointments with this album was the fact that none of the tracks are as good as the opener, which is really too bad because the rest of them are generally longer. "Praha" was amazing, as well as a few sections of other songs, but sometimes a poor structure of lack of melodic development makes me itch for the skip button.

Also, it doesn't sound so much like Ephel Duath are fusing two genres, and more sort of just... alternating between them really fast. It gets to the point where you can hear "METALCORE METALCORE METALCO-- doodley-bee doo wop be doodle wop --METALMETALMETALMETAL...". It's not so much fusion as it is just... mashing sh*t together. Like they're just flipping a switch that makes everything all fast 'n' angry at regular intervals. For the most part, this is not a true fusion of Jazz and Metal; It's just a band that can play both really, really well.

And that's sort of the redeeming quality with this album. Both styles are played to perfection, with stunning technicality and musicianship. Heck, occasionally they even overlap gracefully, and we get a few blissful minutes of perfectly structured, balanced, and awesome-as-hell fusion metal.

Certainly not perfect, but the unique aesthetic, stunning musicianship, and energy make-up for its shortcomings. 3 stars!!

Report this review (#251708)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Painter's Palette" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Italian avant garde/ experimental extreme metal act Ephel Duath. A couple of major things have happened since the release of the debut full-length studio album "Phormula (2000)" which was released through the Italian Code666 label. After signing to Elitist Records (which is a subdivision of Earache Records) Ephel Duath repackaged "Phormula" and included the tracks from the "Opera (1998)" demo, releasing it in 2002 as "Rephormula".

The band originally started out as a duo consisting of Giuliano Mogicato on bass, guitar, synthesizer, vocals and programming and Davide Tiso on guitar, synthesizer, vocals and photography, but before the recording of "The Painter's Palette", Giuliano Mogicato had left the band and Davide Tiso started to assemble a new lineup. In addition to Davide Tiso on guitars, the new lineup consists of Luciano George Lorusso who handles the raw extreme vocals, Davide Piovesan on drums, Fabio Fecchio on bass and Davide Tolomei who handles clean vocals. In addition to that lineup Maurizio Scomparin plays trumpet on a couple of tracks while producer Paso acts as arranger, plays synthesizer and adds electronic noise.

The music on "The Painter's Palette" is vastly different from the music on "Phormula". Itīs not long ago I reviewed "Phormula" and my description of the music on that album was something like this: "Symphonic black metal with twisted adventurious riffs and electronic drums". My description of the music on "The Painter's Palette" probably goes something like this: "Avant garde/ experimental extreme metal with twisted dissonant riffing, fusion drumming, extremely aggressive vocals but also calm clean vocals, jazzy non distorted breaks and occasional free jazz trumpet playing". That might sound pretty confusing, but Ephel Duath actually make those ingredients work together extremely well. Itīs a long time since Iīve heard anything this unique from a metal act. Sure there are references to John Zornīs Naked City and Mr. Bungle too, but the music on "The Painter's Palette" is in the end an entirely different beast. The music is dark, aggressive and complex. Yet thereīs that important memorability element present in the music at all times, that is vital in music as diverse and complex as this. After a few listens the music actually becomes a bit more accessible which I certainly didnīt feel that it was upon my initial listen.

The musicianship on the album is simpy outstanding. The diverse nature of Davide Tisoīs guitar playing and his adventurous approach to composing is simply a treat. The new rythm section is outstanding too. New drummer Davide Piovesan is positively on fire with his busy, fast-paced and complex fusion drumming. While the raw vocal/ clean vocal approach isnīt exactly new and wasnīt in 2003, it works very well on "The Painter's Palette". Harsh styled vocalist Luciano George Lorusso is in the same extreme league as post hardcore vocalists in acts like Burst, The Ocean, Converge and Breach. Clean vocalist Davide Tolomei has a pleasant calm vocal style which suits the music very well. No honey dripping emo vocals here thank you. While the instrumental part of the music most of the time is handled by guitar, bass and drums the addition of the occasional free jazz trumpet part is really great feature and brings lots of atmosphere to the music. There are a few electronic elements and keyboards in the music too which also help enhance the atmosphere.

The album should be listened to as a whole but there are of course highlights. The opening track "The Passage (Pearl Grey)" kicks the album in gear with a blast. Youīll find just about everything that is great about "The Painter's Palette" featured in that track. The instrumental jazzy "Praha (Ancient Gold)" also stands out from the rest of the tracks on the album.

The production is professional and itīs got a raw organic feeling to it that I greatly enjoy. Itīs not too sharp and clean like many other contemporary metal productions.

Itīs quite amazing how much Ephel Duath have grown and developed their music style since the release of "Phormula" and if I didnīt know I would never have guessed it was the same band who released both "Phormula" and "The Painter's Palette". "The Painter's Palette" is a unique experimental extreme metal album and has since itīs release influenced loads of other acts. Itīs one of those few groundbreaking albums in the genre that you have to have heard at least once. The chaotic nature of the music and the extreme vocals might put off a few people but for most who are able to appreciate the music on the "The Painter's Palette" the album is deservedly considered a classic. This is a must hear album and fully deserves a 4.5 star rating. Iīll let time and further listening sessions decide if Iīll upgrade this one to a full 5.

Report this review (#272965)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'The Painter's Palette' - Ephel Duath (9/10)

There are not many metal bands I know out there that integrate jazz fusion so well into their sound as do Italian progressive metal band Ephel Duath. Although they have been first brought to my attention as a black metal band, their second album 'The Painter's Palette' shows very little of this style, instead going towards a very forward thinking style of jazz metal that sounds often like a progression of what Atheist was doing in the early nineties. A highly inventive and quirky band, the band finds an energetic masterpiece with 'The Painter's Palette', that reinvents their sound greatly into something altogether unique.

Ephel Duath splits their sound evenly between abrasive metal and a more melodic, jazz- infused sound. To the band's great benefit, they manage to put the two together seamlessly, making a chaotic barrage flow into a classy jazz break as if it came naturally. Although Ephel Duath do both sides of their sound with great skill and talent, it is indeed the jazzy side of their music that distinguishes them and makes 'The Painter's Palette' an underground masterpiece. To make the jazz jump out even more, there are even a nice number of trumpet solos that almost make one forget that they are listening to what is otherwise an extreme metal record.

On the more metal side of things, Ephel Duath relies on some screams that sound more like they come out of metalcore than anything else, but noisy guitar textures and some beautifully organic drumming makes it all sound as if it is in place. The harsh vocals of Luciano Lorusso are nothing special, but help accentuate some of the album's heavier moments. Where the vocal work really compliments the sound however is with the clean vocals of Davide Tolomei, who takes point for most of the band's melodies. The melodies are not normally particularly catchy or memorable, sounding all over the place. For Ephel Duath though, it works fairly well, and instead the memorable effect of 'The Painter's Palette' is shifted over to the instruments, which are all not only performed, but also produced beautifully.

Ephel Duath's 'The Painter's Palette' is an album that takes a while to grow, but with each passing listen, the experience does ferment into a level of appreciation that I can only associate with a masterpiece. An essential album for jazz-metal fusion.

Report this review (#455752)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very interesting job form the heirs of amazing prog rock italian scene. Definitely the best album of Ephel Duath (at least until now) it merges with success classic jazz progressions (notably with trumpet and sax), death metal riffs (the signature syncopated ones) and some other "experimental" stuff that ranges from funk to prog metal. Still, I have to say: this is NOT an avant-garde album at all. The jazz parts can be compared to most of the textbook classics of jazz (Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington or Bill Evans) which make standard chord progressions based on 9th and swing notes. But this is no impediment to rate this album as Good, but non essential; mainly because of the pretty weak work on the gutural vocals, makes the album loose a lot of interest if you are a musicianship fan or your main concern is to hear something new, i.e. something "avant-garde". Still, it is a must hear for every prog fan, especially those interested in the jazz/metal movement.
Report this review (#486316)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#633300)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I strongly recommend this to people who like a certain music that is the following: avant-garde, extreme metal, and having abrupt transitions in style. For me, the extreme metal moments are generally the weakest and the least compelling. The abrupt changes in musical style and time signatures-- this might be a highlight to some, but for me, it is jarring. I have found this approach to be taken my numerous avant-garde (e.g. Unexpect, some John Zorn, Mr. Bungle). It has never appealed to me. Random, chaotic changes are just that. Yes, they are impressive, but without an intangible musical flow to the changes-- without a intrinsic sense of appropriateness, it becomes a gimmick and nothing more. It is unfortunate because I like a lot this genre of music-- jazz-metal fusion with avant-garde tendencies. It is done well by precious few artists. This is not one of them in my opinion.
Report this review (#992219)
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not jazz, not metal, but both: 9/10

EPHEL DUATH (name probably inspired by Lord of the Rings' eponymous mountain range) has for a long time been mostly a duo that made blackish experimental metal. It's rather surprising to find out that in the band's second release, THE PAINTER'S PALETTE, not only they feature many more members, but they're also distinctively different from everything they've done thus far.

An exquisite mixture of SiktH-inspired mathcore moments and jazzy interludes with delicate solos accompanied by spectacular drumming, there's little to say about this other than "wow, I wasn't expecting that to work out alright", followed by some well-deserved headbanging. And boy it does! It does, because EPHEL DUATH's members are all accomplished musicians able to output some quality stuff from both sides of the spectre (metal and jazz). Now, to claim they've "amalgamed" aforementioned genres would be an overstatement and pretty much a blatant lie. The mathcore moments are starkly separated from the fusion interludes. What makes this work out alright, along with the quality of their work, is how they're able to smoothly transition from one moment to another.

And what's there to say about the drummer? Get ready to listen to some of metal (and jazz!)'s finest patterns and catchiest rhythms. He's not super technical and fancy nor crude and straightforward, he's -as I see it - a damn fine jazz drummer who was called to this weird metal band to do what he does best, jazz-drum.

Absolutely recommended for experimental/avant-garde/different metal fans, or for people who're CRAVING for some of that mythical "jazz metal" - so loudly spoken about but so hardly witnessed.

Report this review (#1886307)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2018 | Review Permalink

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