'“Arkioas” is the kind of album that I could happily listen to on repeat for hours (or days) on end. I wouldn’t change a thing. At all. The fact that this album has somehow made me this obsessed, enthused and excited about it in such a short space of time is a true testement to the quality of work contained on it. This is something very special indeed.
I found out about Ethernal thanks to a heady cocktail of Facebook and BandCamp. This was about two weeks ago and, since then, I’ve been hooked – I’ve promoted them (in the form of a Freebie of the Week) on here, I’ve mentioned them frequently on Facebook and Twitter and I’ve become a ‘Top Listener’ on Last.fm. It’s safe to say that I’ve developed a bit of an obsession… but it’s with good reason…
Metal BandCamp (a terrific site – check it out!) describes Ethernal as a Black Metal band who don’t sound like other Black Metal bands – and I think that’s spot on. Ethernal are without a doubt a Black Metal band, but they’re so different from anyone else. This isn’t Black Metal that was recorded in someone’s shed while a snow storm raged outside (although I do find that pleasurable), this is Black Metal with progressive elements, steeped in melody with a warm production. Everything here feels finely tuned and nothing feels like it was left to chance – leaving the listener with an incredible listening experience. Although everything has been tweaked into its optimum position, this album doesn’t feel forced or mechanical – it feels organic and natural… which, for a band whose lyrical themes include nature, is rather handy. Well, I think nature is a theme… I may have just made that up.
The thing that really draws me to this album is the melodies (especially those created by the lead guitar!). This isn’t a Black Metal band using melody for the sake of it. These guys are using it because they know what they’re doing. When listening to this album I get an odd and unexpected feeling of familiarity. It’s like I know these songs already. They’re like old friends that you’ve run into in a pub… while a snow storm rages outside. I’ve got a fixation with that snow storm. I have no idea why. It’s difficult to find a comparisons for Ethernal (since, like we’ve mentioned already, they’re not like other bands) but try to imagine the lovechild of Secrets of the Moon (more for the occult leanings than anything else) and Opeth (mainly for the progressive tendencies) that was conceived while a snow storm raged outside… OK, I really need to quit it with the snow storm stuff, don’t I? But, yes, this basically sums up Ethernal and their music – hard to define, easy to become obsessed with.
While the whole album is more than worthy of your undivided attention, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention a couple of tracks to whet your appetite. So, have a listen to the BandCamp player below. If you’re short on time, focus on “The Seat of Kings” and “The Watchers” – both should more than sufficiently tickle your tastebuds.'
Ethernal - Arkioas - adds intriguing atmospheric and progressive parts to a base of old-school black metal. Not raw and frostbitten, the production is warm, the drums are natural sounding (and wonderfully played), and the guitars have a kind of rounded buzzing sound. Catchy, almost thrashy riffing gives way to epic passages, some with clean and acoustic guitars and lots of reverb and sustain. The title track even has a long passage with clean echoing picking, that wouldn't have been out of place on an early Pink Floyd album. This is a black metal band that doesn't sound like many other black metal bands.