Temple of Torturous Records – 2011 – U.S.A.
There are many things that I love about writing and reviewing music and one of them is that I am opened up to new world when I’m presented with bands like Echtra. I have no idea what to expect, which is a nice change because I have no opinion of previous albums to compare it to, I have no biases or previous notions. I can just let myself absorb the music in its raw form and that is what I did with “Paragate”. The simplicity of the music is what I love, the subtle changes, the delicateness I guess you could say. Even when it gets into a darker realm it remains mild and gentle. The changes are scattered all over and are so intricate that you really have to not only open up your ears but your mind as well to take it all in. The tracks, “Paragate I”, and “Paragate II” both clock in around twenty-three minutes but it flows so seamlessly that you don’t even notice.
Starting out with a gentle hum, it relaxes you as the warm sounds of acoustic guitar come into play. After about two minutes into it plodding along you start to hear the drone of electric guitars and occasional drums off in the background but doesn’t overpower the main riff that’s playing. The subtle changes I start to notice is the darker tone it starts to take on around the six minute mark. The acoustic and electric guitars both take on more of a somber mood that seems to get more ominous with every note. The somber chants and whispers that you hear off in the distance lend even more eeriness and atmosphere as the acoustic guitar starts to fade away and you’re left with these ambient sounds that have you feeling like you’re floating aimlessly through space.
The second track, continues where “Paragate I” has left off and then goes on into a nice acoustic melody that flows with a haunting beauty. What completely through me off guard is the new direction it went into at the nine minute mark, I was expecting to continue on in the same manner but it headed into a direction that would be more along the lines of black metal. Drums and guitar come smashing in as well as howling vocals that bring it to a whole new level and I love the change that it brought without distorting the atmosphere. It slowly tapers off into near silence before more acoustic guitar comes in with a very melancholy tone and fades off once more off into the distance.
The complexity of this album is remarkable; to have each instrument weave in and out and play each other like they do here is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. This album is full of ambiance and emotion that completely draws you in. If you’re into doom metal but want something more avant-garde then you will want to have “Paragate” in your collection.