Self Released 2011
1.The Withered Hand Of God 2.Revelation Beast 3.Crown Of A Thousand Horns
4.Bloodstained Martyr 5.Apocalypse Of The Spirit
Mournfully ‘The Withered Hand Of God’ presents itself, the keyboard intro setting a creepy tone before all hell is unleashed in an unholy barrage of ice-cold, scathing black metal. The pace is unrelenting throughout, guitars high pitched with fast tremolo picking as you would expect from the genre. Keyboards are used frequently but are used in the background, as an accompaniment rather that overpowering the music as can so often be the case with bands in a similar vein. There are moments of ‘Dimmu’ on display, especially when the pace drops slightly and the vocals take on a more growled and spoken stance. No rip off by any means, just a hint of their influence showing through. Just as the track began, so it ends, a mournful and sombre atmosphere created through the keyboards. But as with the beginning of the song, it doesn’t last long and ‘Revelation Beast’ blasts open in a torrent of abyssic hate, ‘Diesekrator’s vocals really tormented here, pain etched into every sentence, scornful, scathing and malice laden – a real highlight and reminiscent of French black metal troupe Anorexia Nervosa. Slightly more melody is injected into the sound and again, comparisons can be made to Dimmu Borgir, the band easily able to match the Norwegians titans.
As ‘Crown Of A Thousand Horns’ opens up its all too clear that Ethereal really know how to write a good song, this track has taken on a slightly different approach vocally, the growled and spoken vocals re-introduced and used heavily throughout the majority of the track. The pace is slowed and melody used to really build the atmosphere with guitar solos and sweeping keyboards enhancing the melodic edge and seeing the track to its atmospheric end, great stuff! ‘Bloodstained Martyr’ begins where there previous track left off, the beginning to the song slow, but atmospheric, clean spoken vocals used to add variety before the band once again lets loose with their compelling brand of brutal, yet atmospheric black metal. There is a different ‘feel’ to this track, not being too different from the previous tracks to make it stand out as being different. Maybe more of the bands influences on display, the whole song sounds more ‘UKBM’, reminiscent of early C.O.F and Hecate Enthroned in places, not clones of the said bands by any stretch of the imagination though! Final track ‘Apocalypse Of The Night’ is a fitting end to a first rate release from yet another great UKBM band. All of the atmosphere, variety in pace and influences are on display, the band throwing everything ‘into the pot’ to end things and really leave their mark on the listener, the ‘big ending’ and spoken sample sounds really epic and ends the e.p. perfectly.
This is a beautifully presented self- released digi-pack and the professionalism of the packaging is equalled by the black metal on offer, there’s no faulting the bands material at all. Yes, there are comparisons to bigger names in the genre, but Ethereal are no rip off merchants, they are a band that are producing some of the best melodic, atmospheric yet brutal black metal in the UK at this moment in time. Every effort has obviously been made to ensure that no detail has been overlooked. From the design, to the presentation through to the music on offer, it all reeks of professionalism, produced this way to intentionally stand out from the crowd, which it manages to do perfectly. Five tracks of atmospheric, melodic yet brutal and scathing black metal; ‘Revelation Beast’ really deserves your attention and is highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10