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Ekove Efrits > Nettlesome Solitude > Reviews
Ekove Efrits - Nettlesome Solitude

Accomplished recording with a general death theme - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, December 11th, 2013

"Nettlesome Solitude" is a compilation release by Iranian one-man black metal act Ekove Efrits that consists of an early demo "Unholy Graves" and two additional tracks. The style of music here is very interesting: sure, it abides by most conventions of black metal with gravelly vocals, fizzy guitars and sometimes quite doomy percussion but in some of the instrumental sections there is a lighter, delicate musical quality that might derive from Persian and Middle Eastern folk music traditions.

The "Unholy Graves" quartet starts off with a thumping martial beat, some deep ambient drone, an organ and recordings that suggest war or attack. The title track quickly establishes EE's black metal bona fides with ominous atmosphere, a mix of raw black metal guitar noise and a shrill background guitar loop, and reptilian vocal rasp. The music also includes a combination of martial percussion and rhythm elements, light trilling guitar and ambient effects in its later half. "Hail Lucifer" is a strong beefy effort with tortured rhythms, a sampled church bell loop and a venomous vocal. This section of the compilation concludes with a looped sampled rhythm that in the context of the original demo recording is a meditation on death and perhaps sorrow at the brevity of life.

The additional two tracks actually make up over half the album's playing time. "Nettlesome Solitude" has a very different production with spidery lead guitar and constant raining black metal guitar noise in the background. A programmed rhythm seems to be on autopilot throughout the song (though the drum and cymbal beats seem live enough) and there are two sets of vocals. There's an interesting atmosphere in the long instrumental part where a repeating guitar riff sounds quite dreamy with jewel-like tones. The final track includes sampled recordings, an exotic rhythm texture and some unusual ambient tone effects.

This is quite an accomplished work given that EE was working in Iran where there are government restrictions on the kinds of music young people can hear and play. Lone member Count de Efrit pours everything he has and can lay his hands on to create a work of varied music that has substance. The production might be basic but if anything gives the music a very raw and fresh quality.

The only issue I have with this recording is that the theme of death and dying seems very general, and is one that is familiar to black metal fans without offering anything new or different. This theme could have been more closely tied to aspects of recent Iranian history (such as the war that the country fought against Iraqi invasion from 1980 to 1988 which resulted in half a million deaths) that would give the music extra power and fury. Anger against the government sending in thousands of young people to die in a senseless war that in the end benefited neither Iran nor Iraq at all: that would be a theme that could inspire some very aggressive and energetic black metal. Although come to think of it, such a recording would have put EE into a great deal of trouble with the authorities. I will err on the side of caution and suggest this album is as close to being daring as EE could afford at the time.