Ea - Au Ellai
Solitude Productions
Epic / Atmospheric Funeral Doom
3 songs (51:56)
Release year: 2010
Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Kyle

My 7th grade English teacher really liked to drive lessons into my brain to a point where I couldn’t think of anything other than prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs for months to come. After that school year ended, I still found myself recalling her teachings more than I would’ve liked, often piecing together sentences in my head before speaking them aloud in order to avoid any grammatical mistakes. Thank God I still don’t do that; for a month after the semester ended, I was half-convinced that I was going insane because of it. However, one lesson managed to stick with me, partially because teachers in later years loved to focus on the same thing: When you’re writing something, whether it be an essay, short story, or novel, you need to have a hook if you want to draw your reader in. Without sculpting that critical first sentence or two to perfection, the reader will have less motivation to read on, and it’s more likely that they won’t enjoy your writing or even finish reading what you worked hard on. Russian atmospheric / funeral doom band Ea has apparently learned this very same lesson; the opening riff of their third effort, Au Ellai, is stunningly beautiful, a meandering melodic guitar line against an acoustic backdrop that will stay in your mind long after it has passed. It will draw you in, and it WILL make you want to listen to Au Ellai uninterrupted from beginning to end. And I promise you, you’ll enjoy every moment of this deceptively dark journey.

Unlike Ea’s previous efforts, Au Ellai is a more subtle album – still plenty epic, but in a different sort of way. While Ea Taesse and Ea II offered instant gratification in their slow, electric guitar and keyboard driven dirges, Au Ellai is much more subtle in its intent, and more diverse thanks to an increase in synth variety as well as acoustic segments; you’re going to have to listen to the album all the way through a few times before every aspect of the music sinks in with you properly. Ea has crafted an impeccably layered album with Au Ellai, piling countless components onto one another; you’ll want to listen to this album to pick out the background instruments as much as the foreground ones, as the former obviously requires more attention to properly determine. You don’t just listen to Au Ellai; you feel and understand it, and that understanding grows more and more with every listen.

Not all is at peace in the world of Ea, however, as there’s an underlying sense of chaos to be found on this album. Quick double bass drives crop up every once in a while as if they represent a chained beast that’s on the verge of escape, and occasionally a quirky melody will occur that sounds like it was written for a piece of music belonging in a haunted funhouse. These and the other various dark undertones that appear throughout Au Ellai hardly sound like they belong, but I imagine that was Ea’s intent; it creates an atmosphere as mysterious as the dead language the band writes their lyrics in. Plus, though the album is plenty melodic, it’s still funeral doom at its core, so a feeling of dread and sorrow will hang over your head throughout. For me, Au Ellai gives off a feeling of being stranded in the middle of a vast ocean; but while, say, Ahab conveys an atmosphere of being the unfortunate passenger of a ship in the middle of a horrible storm, Ea here attempts to give one a feeling of floating on calm waters on a makeshift raft without any possible chance of survival, leaving its rider to ponder their life and the meaning of it.

As with past Ea albums, Au Ellai is best listened to as a full piece of music; similar themes are spread across all the tracks, and if it weren’t for the short breaks between them, I’d be convinced that the album was really only one long song because of the common themes they all share. The problem is that near the end of this long journey, the album begins to grow a bit tiresome, as the three tracks don’t differ too greatly from one another, even if Au Ellai is meant to be heard as a whole. However, albums becoming longwinded is essentially the same problem I have with all funeral doom (and the slower varieties of metal in general) bands, and while I’m incredibly wary of the genre, I find Ea’s sound highly enjoyable and easily accessible. This album is recommended for people looking for a less extreme foray into the funeral doom genre that doesn’t sacrifice songwriting for solemnity. Au Ellai is a flowing, epic, and emotional piece of music that is a great example as to how beautiful metal should be made. Just make sure you have an uninterrupted fifty minutes to spare, as the impact of it isn’t as great if you only listen to it part way through.

Killing Songs :
Pretend that the entire album is one long song and you'll be fine.
Kyle quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Ea that we have reviewed:
Ea - II reviewed by Adam and quoted 76 / 100
Ea - Ea Taesse reviewed by Adam and quoted 86 / 100
4 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:41 pm
View and Post comments