Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette
Elitist Records
Jazz/Progressive Metal, Avant-Garde
9 songs (46:33)
Release year: 2003
Ephel Duath
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Progressing rapidly from the Avant-Garde Black Metal masterpiece that was their debut, Italian experi-mentalists Ephel Duath returned here with an album that’s even harder to sum up. Following a specific colourful theme that’s reflected in the music if not in the cover art, the band experiment freely, moving from Jazz to Progressive Metal themes, relegating the Blackened parts of their sound to the background, if they’re there at all. Despite that, The Painter’s Palette is an amazing, amazing album, one of the few Metal releases around that actually utilises the Jazz elements fully, rather than the usual spiky riff here or time-change there. Davide Tiso has said that he hates Ephel Duath being called Jazz Metal, which seems to be nothing more than humility before the great genre, because The Painter’s Palette deserves the j-tag if anything does. What always surprises me about this album most is how damn catchy it can be, if you’re willing to listen to it enough times for it to become familiar – before this review came up, I hadn’t listened to it for a good year or so, but on digging it out the melodies all fall back into place instantly, timeless.

That doesn’t mean that this is easy listening by any means, just that there is melody involved if you know where to look for it. You can’t try and figure this out on the first couple of listens, but you can’t just lie back and let the confusing mess splatter all over you whilst you do something else – this demands concentration and actually listening to what is being played. It’s in no way background music. Each song pretty much has everything bar the kitchen sink; looking at the first song The Passage (pearl grey) alone, there are polyrhythmic riffs, Jazz trumpet, drum n’bass, screams, clean singing, Prog Metal flourishes and Jazz jams...

The musicians themselves are amazing, the acoustic drums provided by the fabulous Davide Piovesan (a professional Jazz musician who previously had nothing to do with Metal). Believe me, if you thought that speed and brutality were all that’s necessary in a drummer, you’ve a lot to learn – this guy could outplay Flo Mounier, could outplay virtually any Metal drummer out there. His playing is highlighted around the cymbals, and listening to the album for this alone is as much of a pleasure as the rest. Fabio Fecchio plays the bass, unfortunately having seemed to vanish musically since the two Ephel Duath albums he’s appeared on, but his performance here is excellent. Co-founder and guitarist Davide Tiso is a very underrated musician, his varied and interesting work the bedrock of the album, just as the screamed and clean-sung vocals are the topping.

Everyone will have their own favourites amongst the songs here (mine is either The Passage (pearl grey) or My Glassy Shelter (dirty white)) and really it’s an insult to try and describe them; all are excellent. Ultimately, The Painter’s Palette is a work of art as abstract and oblique as the cover art – don’t expect to get into it easily, yet once you’ve cracked it you’ll be astounded each time you see it. If you’re new to the band check out the video below, and if you like that buy the album and revel in it, take great glorious baths in its Avant-Garde brilliance and wash yourself in the progressive homage to Jazz. Music as good as this doesn’t come along very often; it’s Ephel Duath’s masterpiece, and an album that every fan of experimental Metal should own.

MySpace
Video for The Passage (pearl grey) at YouTube (may no longer work with time)
Killing Songs :
All
Goat quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Ephel Duath that we have reviewed:
Ephel Duath - Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 55 / 100
Ephel Duath - On Death and Cosmos reviewed by Jaime and quoted No Quote
Ephel Duath - Through My Dog's Eyes reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Ephel Duath - Pain Necessary to Know reviewed by Charles and quoted 65 / 100
Ephel Duath - RePhormula reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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