Review Summary: A look at what the future holds for Eths.
Eths are a band that have slowly been gaining momentum in recent years. While their first album, Sôma
, gained them a fanbase in France, Season of Mist debut Tératologie
did little to expand to an international audience. 2011 effort III
finally got the group some sort of breakthrough in the UK and US before the group was set back by the departure of founding duo of Greg Rouvière (guitar), but more importantly their petite yet powerful frontwoman Candice Clot. After quickly moving to find a replacement, the (now) quartet was completed with the addition of Rachel Aspe, who’d previously become a viral star with her audition on “France A Un Incroyable Talent”. After a re-recording of III
track ‘Harmaguedon’ was released, fans awaited the next move for the band with, as one would expect, questions raised over Aspe’s ability to fill the (figuratively) big shoes left by Clot. This is where Ex Umbra In Solem
comes in. With a mixture of live performances, re-recordings of old songs and even one brand new track, this EP perfectly showcases what Eths for the foreseeable future will be like.
The title track, the sole brand new song, is a typical Eths song, and the great thing is, Aspe’s voice fits in perfectly, bringing in her own vocal style while still melding seemlessly with the sound that Eths were promising in their last album. The song has all the aggression and grooves that were found on III
and is a great sign of what the band is still capable of producing and is the only track where one can really comment on the overall band performance, due to the fact that most of us have already heard the music present on the rest of this EP. However, it’s the next six songs, where the fans will want to know how Aspe can deal with the group’s old material, which count.
Starting this off are the three live tracks: Samantha (the title track from their debut EP in 2000), Bulimiarexia (from 2007’s Tératologie) and Crucifère (from 2004 debut album Sôma). It’s immediately apparent that Aspe has a much deeper, rasping scream on her compared to Candice Clot (who she will likely be consistently compared to for the remainder of her time in the band a la Derrick Green to Max Cavalera in Sepultura), however, in the live takes of Bulimiarexia and Crucifère it must be noted that Aspe’s clean vocals do seem to struggle at times to match Clot’s range and style, which could improve over time, but this is unlikely to win over the Clot faithful any time soon.
Following this are three re-recorded tracks, all three from their latest album. While those familiar with this album may need some time to ge used to Aspe’s vocal interpretations of the songs, there isn’t really too much different and those who don’t know much about Eths’ previous output will find little wrong with these tracks. Aspe’s screaming on Voragine are as powerful as ever (perhaps even moreso than Clot’s), and while Aspe may struggle at times on Harmaguedon there is little wrong with her performance. The real test comes on closer Prosperina, where Clot’s own vocal limits were put to the test on III
. It may be studio magic, but Aspe does seem to hold her own, even adapting some passages in order to deal with the challenges posed by the song in her own way. It’s in the acoustic break where her clean singing is really pushed, though, and it has to be said that she performs admirably, more than holding her own. With all this said, it will unfortunately be likely that she will forever be performing in Candice Clot’s shadow and from what has been shown here, that is an unfair sentence to be enforcing on Aspe. Once she fully finds her feet in the band and can fully realise the potential of her clean singing, she may even be able to eclipse Clot herself.
Ex Umbra In Solem
is worth picking up for the die-hard Eths fan, or anyone interested in seeing what this group are still capable of. Be quick though, physical copies are limited to just 1000, after that they're gone.