Ethernal - Grim Ethernity
Unholy Design
Black Metal
6 songs (44:54)
Release year: 2008
Ethernal, Unholy Design
Reviewed by Goat

You wait ages for a good British Black Metal band, and then two come along at once... fellow reviewer James having reviewed Winterfylleth last week, their countrymen Ethernal now deserve attention, playing as they do a form of Black Metal that follows tradition but is unafraid of taking steps away. Of the extreme metal that we do have here in this green and unpleasant land, we rarely get uniformity or willingness to fit into a crowd – The Meads Of Asphodel, Anaal Nathrakh, The Axis Of Perdition, Cradle Of Filth, Caïna and now Ethernity join the ranks as a band that has bite as well as bark. That’s actually a very fitting way to describe this three-piece, as there’s something of the green around this album, from the tinted artwork to the music itself, fuzzy guitar riffing reminiscent of rarely-mentioned one-man-act Benighted Leams. The (self-)production is fairly typical for old-school Black Metal, but all the instruments are perfectly audible; as with The Meads Of Asphodel, the drums are sometimes a little loud, but the variations in playing makes up for it.

The songs are lengthy and highly atmospheric, although there are plenty of riffs. Opening title track is almost like a Blackened Morbid Angel, distant backing keyboard effects twirl as a catchy riff blasts out, until a breakdown summons in Marduk-like intensity. Multiple twists and time changes give the song a Progressive feel, whilst vocalist Defiler’s snarls are placed perfectly, never interfering with the music itself. Blood, Chains And Misery seems to follow a similar style, yet there’s a slightly upbeat feel to Colossus, even with the dark whispered vocals and percussion, an Eastern solo the topping on the cake. Throughout, the album is never less than melodic, and no two tracks are exactly the same. The likes of Echoes have a wonderful pastoral feel that combine old Ulver and some of today’s more strident NeoFolk bands to excellent effect, Haggard continuing the theme with acoustic meandering and pleasant Progressive instrumental parts.

A couple of listens prove easily that this has more to offer than most of the Darkthrone-clones that make up the Black Metal no-man’s land, not popular or distinct enough to warrant a listen. Ethernal, on the other hand, have their own sound, and should go far, considering that this solid album is just the debut.

Killing Songs :
Grim Ethernity, Colossus, Echoes, Black September
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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