Review Summary: Ea show considerable flair and musicianship in crafting a superlative debut.
The mysterious, eerie band known as Ea showed the doom metal world their anonymous faceless existence in 2006 when they delivered their debut “Ea Taesse” marking the beginning of a band armed with interesting ideas and excellent talent. Ea’s anonymity and their intentionally obscure lyrics that make as much sense on paper as on execution give them an enigmatic aura of mystique. Thankfully they don’t rely on their image alone to make an indelible mark in the metal arena. “Ea Taesse” showcases fifty four minutes of heavy, crushing atmosphere that is well carried by flawless production and intelligent songwriting.
In a genre that makes technicality and recognizable vocal structure redundant, doom metal bands face the inevitable hurdle of making their compositions sound repetitive and boring. In Ea’s case (as in many others like Esoteric) the situation is exacerbated by the long playtimes of their songs. To remedy this problem, Ea integrate a significant dose of lush piano pieces, organ backgrounds and choir melodies into their music, making the material easier to digest and providing checkpoints for the listener to make successive visits to the songs easier and more comfortable. Sharing the background with such a diverse set of sounds is the slow, pounding base that connects the song from one monolithic riff to the next. On multiple listens, it can be concluded that the drumming is well thought out and executed. The patterns are unpredictable but accessible enough to make sure the listener is not distracted.
While it is not at all uncommon to see metal bands adding symphonic influences to their music and producing fine results, Ea’s application of these elements to doom metal seem to evolve into a unique style of their own; a style that not only makes these supplementary classical sounds appear congruous and tasteful but also enhances their importance to the overall scheme, making them seem almost indispensable to Ea’s signature. While at the outset, one might have some doubt as to the success of overlapping a slow, high pitched piano piece with a heavy, low growl and the slowest bass, such skepticism is easily destroyed upon listening to the execution of this maneuver in multiple parts of “Laeleia” and title track “Ea Taesse”.
It is important to note that while Ea base their musical expression on doom metal and add flavors of classical music, they have no qualms in composing parts of their music wherein the doom metal aspect is completely done away with and the gloomy, dark atmosphere is carried on by the keyboards alone. The haunting conclusion of “Laeleia” is a perfect example of such orchestration. Sounds of raging and subsiding winds along with ethereal keyboards are used to invoke images of the darkest and the most desolate of places in the mind of the listener. A portion of the latter half of the title track “Ea Taesse” features a region of music that involves piano music and choir vocals alone. Such interludes are well placed to heighten the atmosphere that is already built by the doom metal portions of the music.
The vocals in the entire album are used more as another instrument than as a separate entity independent of the net sound. In addition to the vocals the lead guitar operates at the forefront of the music, making its presence felt with slow, mournful riffs and knowing when to disappear to make the stage clear for a piano piece to flourish or a chorale to take the limelight. The symbiotic nature in which multiple elements of the sound found on “Ea Taesse” thrive on each other plays a pivotal role in sustaining the quality of music throughout its playtime. Providing examples of this symbiosis would not convey the meaning that experiencing the album would bring about since the only example possible would be “Ea Taesse” in its whole.
“Ea Taesse” is as good a debut as Ea might be hoping for. The ideas they utilized here would be applied again to their future albums that would carry just as much mystery and intrigue as this one. While Ea remains underground and isn’t yet a well-known name, considering the brilliance of “Ea Taesse” and their discography till date, it would indeed come as a big surprise if it continued to remain so in the near future.