Melodic Black Metal • Israel
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Formed in 2008, in the past couple years freshly born extreme metal (more accurately melodic folk/black metal) quintet Ekho have grown from a group of rebelling teens that started a band just for the rock'n'roll of it into the heavy metal power-house it is known for today.

Ekho's name, based on the mythological creature 'Ekho' which was stolen of her ability to speak refers to the lack of voice and individualism the band feels the younger generation lacks today. In addition - "At the time, we pretty much just thought it sounded cool and liked the meaning, so it was clear to us that it's the right name for us." says guitarist Yarden Mor-Avi.

With the hunger to create, after a couple demos ('Nymph' & 'Among The Shadows of Erebus') came Ekho's debut album, 'Spitefull', featuring frontman and virtuoso metal guitarist Bar Sanitovsky shredding his way through the band's fast paced heavy
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EKHO Spitefull album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Melodic Black Metal 2011

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EKHO Nymph album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Melodic Black Metal 2009
EKHO Among the Shadows of Erebus album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Among the Shadows of Erebus
Melodic Black Metal 2009

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EKHO Spitefull

Album · 2011 · Melodic Black Metal
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Spitefull is the debut album from Israeli melodic folk/black metal act Ekho. The self-produced album was released in 2011 and followings on from a pair of the demo releases, Nymph and Among the Shadows of Erebus.

Most of the second demo, among the Shadows of Erebus also appears on the seven track album. The tracks appear in more polished versions and the title track as been renamed to simply Among Them. The only track absent from the demo is its closing instrumental Across, which in itself is a real shame because Across was quite an interesting closing piece for the demo and would have suited Spitefull in much the same way. Its absence, or at least the absence of a track in the same vein, makes Ekho seem more of a one dimensional act than I previously knew them to be. This is, naturally, something of a disappointment.

The second disappointment with Spitefull is its length. The full-length album only just gets by the half an hour mark, and only features seven tracks, three of which we’ve heard before. These tracks are at least very noticeably improved upon, with Bar Sanitovsky’s vocals being the most massive improvement in the overall sound of the band, although I do find myself wishing that he would stick to his growl when there’s a moment where some cleaner vocals are used, in the opening track Departure and in closer The Spite, although they are better in the latter.

Spitefull is mostly a positive experience though. The band’s sound is highly melodic and is mostly rooted in black metal rhythms and vocals, topped off with some folksy lead guitar melodies and use of keyboards that don’t push the release into any massively symphonic territories. Some of the new songs on the album don’t showcase as many folk leanings as the one included from the demo, which is something you’ll likely note straight away after you’ve heard Departure and Frail Life when Waters of Abyss kicks in. Overall this is still a melodic folk metal release over a black metal one, since those folk leanings can be very prominent in their sound, especially in Wrath Behind You, but the first two tracks are their most black metal sounding pieces on offer, the folk really picks up from there in.

To be honest, although there is a lot of improvement in Ekho’s sound on the album, Spitefull doesn’t make it any further up on the ladder of excellence than they did with Among the Shadows of Erebus. They were close to stepping up a rung, but didn’t quite get there, mostly for the issues I outlined at the start of this review. The album is however solid material and highly professional from the bunch of young talented guys but they’ve still got a bit of a way to go yet before they take that step onto the rung that signifies a real masterful release. But while they only just made it onto the ‘solid album’ rung with the prior demo, with Spitefull they’re firmly on it and ready to take that next step for album number two. I’ll be very interested to hear what they can come up with when that time comes.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 8.1/10)

EKHO Among the Shadows of Erebus

Demo · 2009 · Melodic Black Metal
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Ekho comes across, at first listen, as one of those bands which can be pretty difficult to put an exact label on. However now that I have given their demo, Among the Shadows of Erebus a couple of listens, I find myself inclined to tag them as a cross between black and folk metal for the most part, though there are times when Ambient would also come to mind (especially in the last track, Across). The primarily element here is definitely folk metal though.

I tag it as black, because of the demo’s raw production and the growled vocal style fits in with black more than death metal growls, yet there is something distinctly not-black metal about this and that is the actual music behind the raw production. This can be quite lively at times, hence the folk tag. The tracks Waters of Abyss and Silent Mourning certainly earns them status as folk metal, with the slow and melodic intro of Waters of Abyss which gets repeated later in the song standing out against the black metal vocals. The style shift works well. There are sections of atmospheric sections as well, which can fit pretty well in black metal bands due to that atmospheric nature of that style of metal music. Ekho though have tagged themselves as heavy metal/folk, but I stand by that black metal/folk is the most accurate you can put this band in. Or perhaps Ambient Black Folk Metal would be a more accurate way of putting it.

The demo is pretty well played from all angles, the guitar riffs are quite interesting and do not come across as stale. Last track Across throws a spanner in the works for being very much an ambient piece, which tells me that Ekho don’t feel that they need to take one style and stick with it, which is never a bad thing when a band knows how to do and still make their release sound like the effort of the same band and not a mess of ideas. I would go so far to say that Ekho have pulled off different ideas to almost perfection. It’s not without its faults, personally I don’t think that the lead guitar section in the title track is placed particularly well behind a vocal section, and there’s an energetic folksy section of Silent Mourning which would really have come across better with cleaner vocals, preferably chants.

Overall it’s pretty good, especially for a band only at the demo stage. I’ve noticed some complaints from people about the vocals but I don’t think they’re that bad, I’ve heard worse growlers in established bands. Yes, the vocals are probably the weak link in Ekho, but it’s very far from being unlistenable. Perhaps the biggest problem with the release is that it doesn’t even clock in at 20 minutes; that’s four tracks. Pretty acceptable length for a demo really, though personally I feel it’s over before I have time to properly get into it. I’d like to hear what this band can do if they get the opportunity to make a full-length album. Other than that it's really the poor production job that lets the demo down.

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