Avant-garde Metal / Symphonic Black Metal / Metal Related / Black Metal • Italy
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The project Ephel Duath was created in February 1998 with the precise intent of experimenting in the sphere of extreme music. At the root of the group’s name lies the concept of a dark and fleeting sound: Ephel Dúath is in fact the mountain range that defends the kingdom of Mordor in Tolkien’s masterpiece.

Initially the band started out as a Duo, with Giuliano Mogicato (voice, guitar, synth and programming) and Davide Tiso (guitar), the only founding member still in the line-up, both were eighteen at the time. In October of the same year the demo tape “Opera” is released; 6 tracks of extreme metal with symphonic traits which brought the name of Ephel Duath to be compared with the style of Limbonic Art and Emperor.

At the end of 1999 the first discographic contract was signed with Code666, at the time an emerging Italian label known for its courageous
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EPHEL DUATH Discography

EPHEL DUATH albums / top albums

EPHEL DUATH Phormula album cover 3.33 | 5 ratings
Black Metal 2000
EPHEL DUATH The Painter's Palette album cover 3.65 | 22 ratings
The Painter's Palette
Avant-garde Metal 2003
EPHEL DUATH Pain Necessary to Know album cover 3.96 | 6 ratings
Pain Necessary to Know
Avant-garde Metal 2005
EPHEL DUATH Pain Remixes The Known album cover 1.00 | 1 ratings
Pain Remixes The Known
Metal Related 2007
EPHEL DUATH Through My Dog's Eyes album cover 1.75 | 4 ratings
Through My Dog's Eyes
Avant-garde Metal 2009
EPHEL DUATH Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness album cover 3.04 | 4 ratings
Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness
Avant-garde Metal 2013

EPHEL DUATH EPs & splits

EPHEL DUATH On Death and Cosmos album cover 3.62 | 4 ratings
On Death and Cosmos
Avant-garde Metal 2012

EPHEL DUATH live albums

EPHEL DUATH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

EPHEL DUATH Opera album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Symphonic Black Metal 1998

EPHEL DUATH re-issues & compilations

EPHEL DUATH RePhormula album cover 3.43 | 3 ratings
Black Metal 2002

EPHEL DUATH singles (0)

EPHEL DUATH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


EPHEL DUATH Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness

Album · 2013 · Avant-garde Metal
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"Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness" is the 6th full-length studio album by Italian (US based) avant garde metal act Ephel Duath. The album was released through Agonia Records in November 2013. It´s been a couple of years since the release of "Through My Dog's Eyes (2009)", but mainman behind Ephel Duath, Davide Tiso have kept himself busy with his solo project Manuscripts Don't Burn and the "The Breathing House (2010)" EP and with the "On Death and Cosmos (2012)" EP released under the Ephel Duath monicker. "Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness" features the same lineup that recorded the latter mentioned. Karyn Crisis (vocals), Davide Tiso (guitars), Bryan Beller (bass), Marco Minnemann (drums).

Stylistically the music on the album also more or less continues down the same path as the music on the "On Death and Cosmos (2012)" EP. Quirky, dissonant, aggressive and progressive extreme metal, that´s very hard to describe correctly. Ephel Duath have always been a pretty unique sounding act, even though they´ve changed their sound quite a bit over the years. While some artists mellow and become more accessible over the course of their career, it´s like the exact opposite has happened with Ephel Duath, who since their early black metal beginnings have become more and more odd with each new release. Always challenging conventions and pushing boundaries.

"Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness" is no exception and it´s overall an extremely challenging release. The music doesn´t feature many memorable hooks and the almost constant use of dissonance can be a bit hard on the ears. The musicianship are on a high level on all places. Personally I have a hard time appreciating Karyn Crisis raw, toneless and rather strained vocal delivery, but I´m sure it´s a case of aquired taste and she is as such not a bad vocalist. Maybe it´s simply the quality of the material, that´s making her performance stand out in a negative light. The word toneless actually describes the music pretty well and even when Karyn Crisis attempts to include a couple of memorable hooklines (like she does in "Tracing the Path of Blood") it all sounds more or less the same. And that is THE major issue with "Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness". It might be professionally produced and powerful sounding and very well performed (the instrumental performances are outstanding), but it´s just not that memorable. Sometimes to a point where I don´t notice when one track ends and another begins.

So my criticism is a bit harsh this time around, but sometimes "Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness" feels too much like art for art´s sake. An introvert release, that isn´t necessarily meant for the ears of an audience. In some ways it´s an intriguing experiment, but it´s simply too one-dimensional to be entertaining throughout the full playing time of an album. A 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

EPHEL DUATH Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness

Album · 2013 · Avant-garde Metal
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Kev Rowland
It has been four years since the last Ephel Duath album, so when I saw that this was available I really excited as this experimental avant-garde Black metal band have always intrigued me and I have enjoyed what I have heard of their previous albums. The line-up this time was founder, guitarist and songwriter Davide Tiso, Marco Minnemann (Kreator, Necrophagist, Joe Satriani) on drums, Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Joe Satriani) on bass and Karyn Crisis (Crisis, Karyn Crisis Band and more importantly Tiso’s wife) on lead vocals. The album was produced by Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal), who also appears on two of the songs. Musically this is brutal stuff, which is also bringing in lots of different styles from death metal through to jazz, and touching on loads of stuff inbetween, but for me it just doesn’t really gell.

There is a fine line between being experimental and creating a new style of music, and being experimental and creating something that in some ways in unlistenable, and there are times on this album where they straddle that line and times when they go crashing right on through. There is little in the way of continuity and I found myself getting musically confused as to what they were trying to do, as while there are plenty of BM elements it all seemed too disjointed and angular, almost as if they were trying to be too clever for their own good. The one thing that I couldn’t fathom at the end is where the fault is with the music or with my personal understanding of it. I listen to a great many forms of music, and have been known to enjoy Art Zoyd and Can, as well as plenty of free form jazz, but I just don’t get this at all. It is difficult to listen to, both in terms of timbre and style, and possibly if I made more effort then I would get more out of it, but it just seems too much like hard work.

EPHEL DUATH On Death and Cosmos

EP · 2012 · Avant-garde Metal
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"On Death and Cosmos" is a 3 track, 19:43 minutes long EP release by Italian avant garde metal act Ephel Duath. The EP was released through Agonia Records in June 2012. For this particular release mainman and only constant member Davide Tiso (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals) are helped out by a couple of rather prolific musicians in bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death, Charred Walls of the Damned...among others), vocalist Karyn Crisis (Crisis) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Necrophagist, Tony MacAlpine)).

The music on the EP is avant garde extreme metal with aggressive raspy vocals, time signatures changes and dissonant riffing. All three tracks are in a similar style even though the post rock start to "Raqia" stands out a bit, but the track soon moves into more familar territory again. There´s a semi-jazzy fusion edge to the drumming, but other than that the jazz influence that was pretty strong in the some of the band´s earlier work isn´t that strong here. The musicianship is strong throughout the EP but that´s really no surprise when you know the musicians involved. The tracks have a bit of trouble holding my attention though. I hear lots of potential and great ideas, but there are no real climaxes and after the EP is finished I´m left a bit frustrated. I don´t expect an Ephel Duath release to be a hook laden hit parade, but a couple of memorable moments wouldn´t have hurt.

Still "On Death and Cosmos" is a well produced EP and despite my reservations I still consider it a quality product and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

EPHEL DUATH On Death and Cosmos

EP · 2012 · Avant-garde Metal
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Time Signature
Stardust rain...

Genre: Ephel Duath metal

"On Death and Cosmos" gives us a peek at what Ephel Duath anno 2012 sounds like. Joined by Steve DiGiorgo, Karyn Crisis and Marco Minnemann, Ephel Duath main man Davide Tiso is in etremely good company, and that shows in the three highly unique tracks on the EP.

Drawing on a post-metal experimentalism combined with the dynamics of jazz and the heaviness of sludge metal, the EP is definitely interesting, and Karyn Crisis' harsh vocals add a black metal feel as well.

The opening track "Black Prism" is based on a stomping rhythm which is contrasted with a certain weirdness that, for some reason reminds me of both King Diamond and "Aqualung"-era Jethro Tull. "Raqia" starts out with clean guitars and a heavy drumbeat and actually quite pleasant and mellow to listen to, but when the distorted guitars kick in, the tracks turns in a more doomy direction, and is perhaps best described as something in between sludge-doom and jazz-inspired avant-rock, characterized by a dynamic that challenges our sense of cohesion in music (as a matter of fact, the track is actually very coherent and focused, but it is just that it features many elements that are unusual to the average listener of mainstream music). The third track "Stardust Rain" is rich in dynamic drumming and, du to the dissonant guitar figures, has a general almost volatile or brittle texture to it which constantly seems on the verge of collapsing or breaking apart, held together by DiGiorgio's bass and Crisis' raw vocals.

Needless to say, the musicianship is top notch - it has to be with that line-up. the drumming is dynamic and often has a sort of jazzy feel to it, while DiGiorgio's bass provides a good bottom and is also allowed to do some of the acrobatics he is known for, while Karyn Crisis' vocals provide a certain rawness and extreme metal fell. And everything is masterfully blended together under the watchful eye of Davide Tiso whose guitars challenge several conventions of rock music.

Personally, I find this EP a very interesting listen, but also one that challenges the listener; "On Death and Cosmoms" should be appreciated for the piece of art that it is.

EPHEL DUATH The Painter's Palette

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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"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". It´s 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. It´s a long time since I´ve heard anything this unique from a metal act. Sure there are references to John Zorn´s 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 there´s 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 didn´t feel that it was upon my initial listen.

The musicianship on the album is simpy outstanding. The diverse nature of Davide Tiso´s 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 isn´t exactly new and wasn´t 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. You´ll 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 it´s got a raw organic feeling to it that I greatly enjoy. It´s not too sharp and clean like many other contemporary metal productions.

It´s quite amazing how much Ephel Duath have grown and developed their music style since the release of "Phormula" and if I didn´t 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 it´s release influenced loads of other acts. It´s 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. I´ll let time and further listening sessions decide if I´ll upgrade this one to a full 5.

EPHEL DUATH Movies Reviews

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