Through My Dog’s Eyes
26 January 2009
by Jerry Ewing
You can never accuse Ephel Duath of taking the easy route. Italian prog metal, shamelessly taking their name from Tolkien, the band have, over the years incorporated such seemingly prog-unfriendly sounds as hardcore, punk and blues into their jazz infused musical swirls.
Now with the advent of their fourth studio album, the band have since replaced recent vocalist (of the last four years at least) Luciano George Larusso with Guillermo Gonzalez, a professional poker player no less. Indeed, constant mainman Davide Tiso aside, it’s an all new line-up of Ephel Duath that will face the world.
New line up may be, but the obtuse time changes and quirky melding of melody and metallic progression remains intact. Only this time the tuneless accusations that greeted 2005’s Pain Necessary To Know have, to a certain extent (and I mean ‘certain extent’) been replaced by a more melodious approach.
Especially on the first four songs. Opener ‘Gift’ kicks off with some spiralling, almost southern rock guitar before taking a more discordant route. It could almost be Clutch at their most experimental. ‘Promenade’ and ‘Breed’ are perhaps more straightforward moves in traditional Duath jazz-prog territory, but retain a tuneful appeal at heart nonetheless.
Watch the trailer to Ephel Duath – Through My Dog’s Eyes DVD
Both ‘Silent’ Door’ and ‘Bella Morte’ have less appeal, unless total abstract noise is your particular thing, but both the compelling ‘Nina’ and ‘Guardian’ more than compensate, as does the down-tempo shift of ‘Spider Shaped Leaves’ and the epic prog out of closer ‘Bark Loud’.
There’s also a 40 minute DVD offering a view inside the world of Ephel Duath. Like the music, that’s not always pretty. But it’s intriguing, challenging and often quite exciting. That has to stand for something.
Ephel Duath – Through My Dog’s Eyes tracklisting
Spider Shaped Leaves