There are some bands that do not mess about when it comes to writing music. French metallers Eths are one of those bands. Unrelenting, crushing, aggressive and raw, Eths take no prisoners with their new album Ankaa. With the addition of new vocalist Rachel Aspe, this could possibly be the most compelling offering from the band to date.
I will be the first to admit that female-fronted metal bands don’t tend to be my thing, but Aspe is a true force of nature. Her vocal abilities have a real chance to shine on Ankaa, and she proves that she is able do it all from piercing black metal-esque screams, right through to eerie, clean vocals and more. She’s a natural.
Sonically, the first half of Ankaa is dark, sinister and punishing, be it the pounding, raw-sounding drums, gritty low-tuned guitars and bass drops within opener “Nefas,” the Arabic chants and clean ethereal guitars in “Nihil Sine Causa,” or the seductive piano intro of “Seditio.” Ambient and alluring soundscapes are used throughout the album, but in a way that is tasteful and fitting within the songs themselves. It’s all very dramatic and deliberate, just listen to the outro of “Seditio.”
A true law unto themselves, Eths aren’t afraid to chuck in the odd eight-minute song. “Nixi Dii” is essentially a brilliant chug-fest, mixed in with chanted passages, fast-paced drums, grooving bass, oh and, the sound of a baby crying for about a minute. The sound of those criminally guitars is what really makes it for me on this one, though. A true feast for the ears.
The album turns a little Rammstein-esque in “HAR1” and verges on being slightly corny, but that’s all but forgotten when “Kumari Kandam” rears its head. The album closes with tracks “Alnitak,” “Alnilam” and “Mintaka” and we’re taken on an interesting journey. While you could probably meditate to the majority of “Alnitak,” you’ll find your eyes fly open with “Alnilham” and “Mintaka” within which the dynamic changes once again with guitar riffs that are very much reminiscent of Tool.
Ankaa can’t be labelled as a straight-up metal album, but rather a fusion of metal, hardcore and off-the-wall experimental music. Together with the overall unpolished production, Ankaa makes for quite an affecting and attention-grabbing record. Perhaps another listener might give the album a spin and think it sounds squeaky clean, but to me it has a true raw sound which makes it all the more interesting and sets this band apart from its peers.
Ankaa is out on Season of Mist. Buy it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):