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Ethnor: Exile

While doing a little research on Ethnor, a sextet from Russia, I discovered that they had been ‘refused’ an entry over at the excellent and often indispensable EncyclopediaMetallum, with the reason being given that they were too djent and then when that was politely queried on their forum, for having too many mathcore values. It’s an interesting debate that as we delve deeper and deeper into sub-genre, so divisive and exclusive walls are built ever higher. That said, every music website or book must have its limits and we at SoT are obviously not immune.

What makes the process the band went through even more subjective is that before I’d read the exchange, I’d never considered Ethnor to be either djent or mathcore. However, with the band themselves describing their sound as progressive death metal it’s easy to see why lines could become blurred. Personally I side more with Ethnor, although even then I’d be hard pushed to say that their assessment is exactly what you’ll find here. However, let’s just celebrate this band’s willingness to embrace a little diversification rather than berate them for not fitting neatly into a genre box. Maybe if their only release to date, the 2017 EP Exile, wasn’t just a five track release then we’d have a better opportunity to work out their overall attack. As it is, the opening salvo of “The Awakening” is a three minute instrumental that leans into Oriental metal influences as it builds through an atmospheric synth backing that leaves you wondering if what might come next will actually be Euro power metal. And then “Of Ashes And Blood” kicks in with a sitar like strum before being joined by the pummel of drums that begins things proper. Fast, furious and with the synths reappearing, just a little curious. With the twin tracked vocals from Vladimir Ryazanov darting from guttural expulsions to clean, impassioned singing, at just over nine minutes, time is also allowed for numerous breakdowns and changes of tempo. It’s almost as though someone mangled Gods Of Eden and Fear Factory into one being and then walked away manically laughing.

Just as you think you’ve a handle on what’s going down, “Desert Winds” spends six minutes reeling in those expectations and casting them aside, a clean darkwave/prog surge washing over us all with a crying guitar solo, humming synths and eerie vocal. From there we get another short instrumental atmosphere setter in “River Of Time” and when all this gives way to the lumbering riffs and drum blasts of “Godless War” things only twist further; spacey synths that even peel off some blaster fire on occasion the first time where the aggression and ambient sides of this band are truly blended. That some sections also finally go for the throat satisfies greatly but then so does the underlying melody that stops any real darkness from creeping too far into view. And if anything this jostling for supremacy actually makes for the strongest track on show.

Whatever genre they fit into and whatever we call them, one thing remains, Ethnol really are an excellent, exciting discovery. How their expansive take on the metal genres they encompass will evolve over a full length release is something I’m extremely keen to find out. Allegedly this opus is in the making and I for one hope we don’t have to wait too long to experience it.

Track Listing
1. The Awakening
2. Of Ashes And Blood
3. Desert Winds
4. River Of Time
5. Godless War

Added: May 25th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ethnor on bandcamp
Hits: 883
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Ethnor: Exile
Posted by ETHNOR on 2019-05-27 21:12:25
My Score:

Hello to all of your guys and girls at Sea of Tranquility. We just wanted to thank you for having our EP 'Exile' reviewed - we have had a great time reading it. We also appreciated Steven's dedication to seeking background info on us and even having our feud with EncyclopediaMetallum mentioned. One day we'll set things straight with them by giving out TRVE METAL release, but as for now, we'll just continue doing our thing.

We also noticed that Steven considers 'EXILE' EP as our only release to date, which is not exactly correct. Apart from very early 2010s single, we also have released 'The Ritual (Full Circle)' maxi-single - mixed and produced by Tommy Talamanca of Sadist himself. It's available at every streaming platform possible, including our own Soundcloud page, so you might want to check it out.

Anyway, thanks again guys, we will give you a blast of a time with our full-length release. Keep the good music spreading around the globe and good luck in all of your endeavors.


On behalf of ETHNOR,

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