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Awesome epic metal from Oakland! - 94%

Ravensfjord, March 25th, 2009

Embers manages to successfully pull off the heavy bombast of groups ranging from Neurosis and Ludicra along with a mix of the atmospheric parts of (early) Emperor, Remains of the Day. The vocal phrasings are the most challenging element. Kelly's voice isn't all that clear in places but it's more of a crusty sort of mid-range, not far from Alica of doomsters, 13. Production is generally good for a D.I.Y. release.

"Suicide" begins with an orchestral viola drone and a slow, doomy build up then builds to a steady doomy to fast and soaring metal number tune and back again. The pace is interesting in that they give enough space and balance for every member. Other places show a bit of a "post-rock" feeling like Red Sparrows or Mare ("Reprise"). "Corruption" takes off with a bombastic, aggressive pace and an overall massive sound.

"Heroin", blasts out with hammering drumming and mixes the stop/starts as well as some nice bass and majestic keyboards ('ala early Emperor). Lots of infectious riffing and time/chord changes without becoming overtly flashy. Some nice sweeping structures and some creative fretboard, excellent mix of keyboards/bass at 2:31-2:54.

The closer, "War" is very epic, makes good use of doom riffs that cascade into another fine epic. Proper use of of pinch harmonics and viola are also put to work. The guitars mostly follow along to the bass. The riffing & structure at 2:03-2:22 & 3:00-3:23 are similar to Celtic Frost's "Necromantic Screams" played at a slower pace. A few accents from the keyboards eventually blend in just right with the other elements. Other unexpected sections appear like a flurry of harmonics, viola and some crazy growls, all of which adds to its listenability unlike other bands who make things sound forced (looking at you, Abigail Williams).

In all, a very solid debut from a band that has a lot to offer. Very diverse and epic sound. They've also been playing a lot of the East Bay and San Francisco club & warehouse shows and are always impressive live. Also, for the people into underground crust/hardcore and noise rock stuff, check out Kelly & Steve's previous band, Lesser of Two.

Excellent debut - 87%

Noktorn, March 4th, 2009

I'm surprised that this EP hasn't gotten much more attention than it has from the metal scene; it falls into what I would imagine is a niche that would appeal to a wide audience, and the music itself is extraordinarily well done and memorable, so why hasn't this band seen some more success? 'Memoria In Aeterna', the debut EP by Embers, is a slab of crust-infused and melodic black/doom metal that wouldn't seem strange at all put next to Gallhammer or on Southern Lord's roster. I'd imagine that this band will go pretty far as soon as they get noticed, so now would be a good time to explore them before they sell out and start playing melodeath.

A reasonable description would be Gallhammer with substantially more melody and US influence rather than Hellhammer worship. Clean/acoustic guitar is used extensively throughout the EP, providing subtle, almost post-metal build-up towards the more violent and churning black/doom sections. The crust influence is pronounced and melodic in a late Amebix or Stormcrow variety, and the tempo really never goes towards d-beat territory; most of the music is plodding, with every note from the guitar feeling like it needs to be somehow wrung from the instrument itself. It's weighty without being artificially heavy, and though certain moments more than slightly remind one of Pelican or other post-metal artists, the music is generally free of pretense and twee leanings.

The spectacular amount of variation within songs is what makes this so special, and the supremely winding, narrative song structures are what allow it to occur. Embers regularly passes through sections of clean guitar juxtaposed with churning black/doom metal and the very occasional faster crusty section, but transfers through all these different styles without losing step, as the songs are extremely linear and lacking repetition. Vocals drier than driftwood shriek across slack surfaces of melodic yet decrepit riffing before bursting into crust punk fury, but no part of it ever feels pointless or awkward; the songs are designed with a supreme sense of purpose and never fail to keep the listener's attention.

The debut EP by Embers is an extremely strong first volley on the part of the band, and I'm very interested to see where they go from here. Perhaps the band's extensive roots in the punk rather than metal scene is a contributing factor to the lack of attention they've received, and this is unfortunate, because I believe a wide variety of metalheads could see this band becoming one of their favorites based on the strength of this material. Highly recommended, and I'm eager to hear more from these guys.