Published Jan 08, 2020Bleak, disturbing, dystopian, apocalyptic — all words that describe Ether Coven's Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering. That makes it a perfect soundtrack for the start of 2020, where less than a week in we've seen an entire continent catch fire and what looks like the start of a colossal war. At least we have this music from the howling void to cheer us up.
Ether Coven occupy a fine line between death and doom metal, falling somewhere between Neurosis and Paradise Lost on the scale of depressive heaviness. The songs range from punchy, sub-four-minute blasts to over ten minutes in length. It's on the longer tracks that Ether Coven reveal their true talent, using the full breadth of doom metal to leave their listeners feeling like hollow and burnt-out shells.
It's the dynamics that make things work. Without the acoustic strumming and beautiful bluesy guitar on "This House Is a Tomb of Memories" and "Of Bitterness and Shame," the crushingly heavy parts wouldn't feel anywhere near as cathartic. The grand finale, a 13-minute slog ironically called "Enjoy Life," is a genuine death-doom masterpiece, representing all that is great about the micro-genre.
The one problem is how close some of the shorter numbers sound to Novembers Doom, already established as one of death-doom's greatest acts. Ether Coven don't deserve to be overshadowed, but they could end up there if they don't run with their weirdest ideas. (Century Media)