El-Ahrairah
El-Ahrairah


2.5
average

Review

by zaruyache USER (21 Reviews)
August 4th, 2016 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: El-Ahrairah’s debut is an exercise in repetitive songwriting, but unfortunately not much more.

After years of inactivity, Minnesota’s El-Ahrairah returned in May of 2016 with not only their first proper full-length but also their first release in several years. While the band’s initial handful of demos were comprised of mostly ultra-raw, ultra-noisy black metal, the newly reformed band’s debut album features a drastically tamer, cleaner sound. This comparatively quieter style allows the listener to clearly hear all parts of the music, as opposed to their being blended together in a frantic cacophony. While this change in sound does allow the band to better highlight the more melodic aspects of their songwriting (as the melodies can be clearly heard now), the lack of constant static booms and hisses only seems to reveal how one-dimensional their approach really is.

El-Ahrairah is an exercise in simple, repetitive songwriting. Most songs seem to utilize a simple songwriting method, often repeating one lead guitar riff (the “verse” riff), followed by another lead (the “chorus” riff), both being accompanied by a drum beat that changes little throughout each track’s duration (if at all). This “riff cycle” of two repeats for the majority of each track, perhaps slightly varying by the track’s end. As the songs progress, additional elements are sometimes introduced to provide a sense of musical progression--whether they be a synth melody, a harmonized lead, or a bridge section with an entire riff of its own--all while the original rhythms and riffs continue to play again and again.

While the idea of slowly building onto songs as they progress is itself--at least in theory--a novel-sounding idea for a black metal band to try, El-Ahrairah never seem to go far enough with it to get their songs to actually go anywhere. It’s as if El-ahrairah is meant to function as the stretching of the band’s creative wings after years of inactivity; instead of springing back to life and leaping for the sky by indulging in new and interesting songwriting directions, they seem (for now) like they’re only interested in playing it safe and testing their abilities by composing simpler pieces that only flirt with new ideas--just to see if they’ve still “got it” as a band at all. And they do for the most part still “got it”; each of the individual tracks on El-Ahrairah is fairly straightforward, accessible (though crude) black metal that is far more pleasant than offensive to the ears.

The problem is simply the repetition of this same problematic songwriting schtick that never allows tracks to fully come into their own, and cuts them off before they’re ever given a chance to ripen properly. Taken on their own, each track is fairly competent, albeit rather unexciting. Taken together, though, the pieces feel like an unfinished album--more like a demo still needing to be fleshed out before being put to tape. While opener “Stone Throwers” and “They Wore the Wind”, for example, function well as a simple fast black metal tracks, slower pieces like “Gates of Dawn” and “Drown Alone” feel as if they’re waiting to be taken somewhere more interesting and just keep playing the same rhythms in the hopes of getting there, though they run out of gas before that’s ever able to happen. El-Ahrairah is a competent band; they know how to compose interesting riffs and melodies, and they’ve found an interesting songwriting schtick to play around with.

They just need to figure out how to use it.



Recent reviews by this author
Black Malachite NightfallGhost Bath Starmourner
Unru Als Tier ist der Mensch NichtsSix Feet Under Torment
Wiegedood De Doden Hebben Het Goed IIMgla Mdlosci

user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Gameofmetal STAFF (4.5)
Experimental black metal with a fetish for the paranormal....


Comments:Add a Comment 
zaruyache
August 3rd 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I did a baaaaaad thing, guys.



http://el-ahrairah.bandcamp.com/album/el-ahrairah-2

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2016


21997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well now I'm definitely going to need to review this

Hawks
August 3rd 2016


51939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck Zar.....



Completely disagree, but good review nonetheless. :]

Digging: Swallow the Sun - The Morning Never Came

zaruyache
August 3rd 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yall need to stop trippin and get on some real bm like that Forteresse yo

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2016


21997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That one trick pony? Pass.

zaruyache
August 3rd 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah you like ponies that only pretend to not be doing the same thing for nine tracks cough ;) ;) ;) cough

ZippaThaRippa
August 3rd 2016


10289 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay well I'm glad that I'm not the only person who felt like the entire album is one song.



That being said it's a good song and I like it.



And also the second to last track is killer.



And also also, rating an album higher than your review score is SO 2012 and SO douchey.

Hawks
August 3rd 2016


51939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Idk bro if you jam their whole discog none of them sound the same. If we're talking about variety I think these guys have plenty of it.

zaruyache
August 4th 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Ppffffff. On the one hand I've heard these tracks enough times that I've started to become more comfortable with them which makes them seem more likeable. But if I'm being objective, I don't think they should honestly get those bonus points for that :p

zaruyache
August 4th 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's hard to pick out the actual instrumentation on their raw stuff, but those demos def had different styles than this. I think this style could be nifty if they work with it, though. Jam some Swans and Oranssi Pazuzu, then write the next one heh.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2016


10877 Comments


Great review, yet to jam this so no judgement right now, but you'll get yours soon enough *eye squint*

Digging: Russkaja - Energia!

zaruyache
August 4th 2016


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Oh I know I'm in the minority here and that's totally why I wanted to be snarky and ruin the fun with n e g a t i v i t y

Hawks
August 4th 2016


51939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still love you Zar bro.

MoosechriS
August 4th 2016


6137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well written as always dude, but i obviously enjoy this more than you do :-P

DungeonBoy
August 4th 2016


3228 Comments


Hey man, I agree more with this review than the other review.

Digging: Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2016


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

#scrub

Hawks
August 4th 2016


51939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

SitruK6
August 4th 2016


1137 Comments


[3]

Typhoon24
August 4th 2016


1749 Comments


well written mayne

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2016


10877 Comments


This is really good and all but it didn't blow me away like I expected it to, it just seems like solid melodic bm.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy