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Echtra: Paragate

Hailing from Oregon in the US yet intriguingly releasing this third album on a Chinese label, Echtra are described in their promo material as playing 'atmospheric blackened drone', whilst this album (essentially one piece, split in to two 23 minute sections) apparently represents a 'psycho-physiological journey into the Otherworld'.

Echtra are certainly dab hands at creating some dark, foreboding atmospherics with a hypnotic, ethereal feel. They are adept at gradually building the intensity through layers of sound, and stripping back when the need for a change of mood is apparent. The 'secret weapon' here is the superb use of acoustic guitar; produced cleanly and apart from the background atmospherics, the simple but effective melodies, often repeated for lengthy periods of time, are very effective in giving the material an extra layer of transcendental beauty. Elsewhere, Gregorian chanting and layered heavy guitars are used effectively in the background, although I felt that the more overt black metal sections, with fairly average BM vocals and tempos, didn't work as well in this context.

Overall, this is a hypnotic piece of music, recommended not just to drone fans but all those who enjoy immersing themselves in atmospheric soundscapes.

Track Listing
1. Paragate I
2. Paragate II

Added: June 1st 2011
Reviewer: Tom De Val
Related Link: Band Myspace page
Hits: 2192
Language: english

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