I’ve known the dudes in Ether for many years now but I wanted to go into this record unbiased, allowing the music to speak for itself. From the moment the record started I knew I was going to get my soul crushed.
The intro track “Dearest the Shadows” sets the stage by having distorted guitar feedback scrapping over the beautiful voice of Billie Holiday. That only lasts about a minute before the drums start ripping on the track “For Every Nail, A Noose”. Blast beats give way to sludge beats and a barrage of insanely heavy riffs. Accompanied by the combination of bassist Chip’s low beast growls and Peter Kovalsky’s intense screams that I have grown accustomed from his previous work in Remembering Never & x Bishop x. The song then takes a slow, melodic and ethereal turn with layers of beautifully melancholic singing that was not expected but highly appreciated. The strings at the end were pure perfection. Progression, aggression, emotions all running high here and it’s everything I want in music.
Next up is “We Are the Empty Vessel Where Life Used to Grow” which comes with a performance music video. This is where I let my personal relationship with these guys come into play and allowed myself to feel the internal struggle they have been enduring these past few years. The pain is felt through every note and it’s clear that they are leaving it all out on the table for us to endure with them. This has more of the amazing dynamics the first track had but in a shorter more intense package. This leads into and acoustic track “Inextricably Bound By the Absence of a Ring Finger” which showcases Peter singing in the lowest register I’ve heard from him. I know this is a deeply personal track for him and my empathy is not lost here.
In an effort to not make this the longest review ever, I am going to condense the next few songs. “No Gods, All Masters”, “The Burden of Trust” & “Coke Rope” all seemed to blend into each other perfectly. Although I can feel the weight of this journey in my heart, the dynamics in the music make me want to come back for more. By the time the sound of the rain kicks in I can feel myself starting to choke up, hell I even allowed myself to shed a tear. You can either take that as me being a giant softy or as a testament to how much was put into this music. Coke Rope has that amazing guitar harmony I love from the Doom Metal world along with more crushing dissonance & demonic growls that could fill a cathedral with fire.
“Ava Maria of the Lice, Of the Snakes, Of the Worms” really took a toll on me. So many layers and progressions it started to make my head pound. Don’t take that as a negative for the song, it is incredible. “The Burden of Hope” provides you with a quick reprieve into some delayed guitar notes with random distortions that prepare you for the final riff onslaught that is “Fleas of a Rat”. I couldn’t help but lose myself in some serious headbanging with this one. I am sure the people in the car next to me are wondering if something is wrong. Blast beats, dissonant chords and savage growls throughout until the final fade away is the perfect way to end this record.
It has a been a long journey for these guys and I have been there since it’s inception. “There is Nothing Left For Me Here”, I believe, is the perfect representation of what this band has been trying to accomplish all these years. Introducing more clean vocals and harmonies provided by Devin & Chip add a layer to the music that takes the whole experience to a new level. I am insanely proud of these guys and hope to share the stage with them again sometime.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Pair w/ Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin for maximum effect.
The album comes out July 7 2017 on Dead Truth Recordings and you can pre-order it now HERE!
Follow them on Facebook : ETHER Bandcamp: ETHER
Catch them on tour this Summer:
7/7- Tampa, FL (FL Rules Fest)
7/8 Atlanta, GA – TBA
7/9- Nashville, TN
7/10- Louisville, KY- Taproom
7/11- Cincinatti, OH Q’s Dungeon
7/12- Chicago, IL
7/13- Detroit, MI- Sanctuary
7/14- Pittsburgh, PA- Black Forge Coffee House
7/15- Lemoyne, PA The Champ
7/16- Albany, NY- Pauly’s
7/17- Waterbury, CT
7/18- Brooklyn, NY
7/19- Oakdale, NY- Shaker’s Pub
7/20- Elizabeth, NJ- Cianfanos
7/21- Baltimore, MD – TBA
7/22- Durham, NC House w/ No Name
7/23- Jacksonville, FL