Review Summary: Intentionally obscure, hopelessly bleak, beautifully desolate.
If you’ve heard anything about the Russian doom metal band EA, then like everyone else, you know nothing
about them. Au Ellai is their third release and there are still no signs of any glimpse of the members revealing themselves. There’s nothing here to focus on except the music itself, and for other bands that might be a bad thing, but when the music is as all-consuming and empowering as it is on Au Ellai, then it only helps add to the mystique and aura that this monolith of an album provides.
There’s just something captivating about the essence of Au Ellai. The way it imposes its way into your head while still being sombre in its way of pushing into your subconscious is a paradox that just seems to work somehow without ever really being thought out, or really attempted at by the band. There’s no sense of trying too hard, everything just comes about naturally. The music is built around layers that all come together to provide this crushing wall of sound. It’s raw while still sounding amazing, you might believe that it was recorded in the rooms of an abandoned building because of the intensity of the atmosphere were everything not so beautifully put together. Piano melodies float beautifully above guttural growls and dominant guitars, and cymbals crash powerfully around the blissful keyboards. While being undeniably metal, the music is arranged in a way that relates to classical, and the way the guitar’s pave their way through one lead melody and another while piano’s fade in and out with beautiful orchestrations only expands upon this. While the music is always impressive, it is the atmosphere and arrangements that dominate this release; the music just flows and develops in an outstanding way.
In Taela Mu, there is a moment around the halfway mark where the song just explodes with no obvious change in dynamics, or tempo. After several minutes of the guitar playing this slow, classical melody over the top of a simply engrossing synth line, it alters and twists into something more perverse, and the synths stop. A hauntingly beautiful piano melody begins dancing around in the background while the drumming become heavy and substantial, and the voice of it all; a lifeless, bestial growl completely gives way to the melodies. The atmosphere has changed, the song has developed and grown, but it’s all completely unnoticeable why
on first hearing.
And moments like these just carry on appearing throughout every minute of Au Ellai’s impressive length. EA have such a tight grasp on their art that despite the music being based on ‘unknown texts of ancient civilisations’ it has a meaning, it has a mood and an atmosphere that isn’t built on words or purposeful sentences. No one will ever actually understand what it all means, but everyone can understand the cold, hard gripping feeling of pure desolation. At times glimmers of hope or reprieval shine through, but not only are these moments rare, they are crushed without fail by the sheer weight of this release. Au Ellai is just the essence of funeral doom metal, and EA are masters of song arrangement. A work of art which will never be heard or talked about beyond a tiny cult following, and quite frankly, that’s exactly where it belongs.