It's hard to know what to make of Ebonillumini on the strength of their debut outing Pacificum. Mainly because at times it's hard to make out what's happening on Pacificum the debut outing by Ebonillumini. What I mean by that is this UK five-piece who have unfortunately settled for silly names like The Maiden, Manitou and The Monk Marshall, have constructed an intricate and hugely eclectic release and then saddled it with one of the mushiest productions I've heard since the 80s. And it's a real shame, for any mix of avant-garde attacks, Black Metal splatters and jazzy interludes, simply needs some clarity. In the end you are left hoping that the welding of mid-paced ponders and hell for leather rifforama is as good as you suspect and not more effective in the imagination as you start to construct how you'd like this to sound, rather than how it really does.
So OK, the production sucks but any band with the ability and belief to stride purposefully through gigantic guitars, atmospheric keyboards, growls and clear yet hugely off the wall female vocals has to up to something, right? Well yes, undoubtedly and if you really do hunker down, peer through the shmushy gloom and find the beating heart behind "Darwin's Glacier (Antarctica)", "Kukulkan (Mexico)" or "The White Sisters Of Charity (Papua New Guinea)", then the skill becomes clear and the vision a little more understandable. Although with vocals soaring, diving and grating, as well as growling, things are never often as first expected; but then that's half the fun.
Judging by the song and album titles, this is a conceptual piece and bird sounds, creaking ships and lapping water allude to a sea faring journey. What the message behind it all is I'm not sure, but alongside piano passages and tribal drums, it is all darkly atmospheric and perfect counterpoint to the more aggressive guitars and ear bashing drums. Somehow it all comes together as though it was always meant to be this way.
There are obvious issues with Pacificum, yet somehow I've been won over and hope for more. The question is will the results of future efforts be given a better chance to shine a little more clearly? And if they do, will it heighten the impact? Hopefully Ebonillumini will let us find out.
1. Darwin's Glacier (Antarctica)
2. Tane Mahuta (New Zealand)
3. Einstein's Atom (Japan)
4. Breadfruit Caller (Micronesia-Satawal)
5. Great Nova (Tonga)
6. The Ebon Channel (The Marshall Islands)
7. Nuclear Nomads (French Polynesia)
8. The White Sisters of Charity (Papua New Guinea)
9. Mariana Trench (Hadal Zone)
10. Kukulkan (Mexico)
Added: January 18th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ebonillumini on Facebook
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