Genre: Black / Death metal
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Howls of Ebb is (or betterwas, since they’re now split-up) one of the most interesting proposals in extreme metal in recent years.
Their second full length album, with the interesting title ‘Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows’, was released about two years ago (April 15th, 2016), via the beloved label I, Voidhanger Records. As a whole, the album consists of seven tracks, totaling 43 minutes.
The album begins quite abruptly, surprising the unprepared listener and perhaps at first level making him think he is not listening to anything special. However, those who’ll pay attention to what they’re hearing, that is people whoactualy listen to music rather than passers-by who’ll hit the play button simply to say that they heard it, will be impressed by the unusual compositions; very special, perhaps strange at some moments, leaving a peculiar ‘after-taste’ with their surreal disharmony. Maybe the concept of ‘surrealism’ is the best way to describe the sound effect of Howls of Ebb. Yes, we can distinguish quite a few ‘traditional’ tracks, following the main Death Metal structures of the American scene (well, the band comes from San Francisco, so what else did you expect?, but there are signs that HoE have set their minds into establishing their own own sound. On the one hand, we can hear robust leads tied with riffs that prepare you for war while on the other hand tricky, peculiar structures make their appearance, giving the final result a varied experience. Surely, no one can deny that the occult feeling and that witty nihilistic groove are the features that reign everything.
Returning to what I mentioned before, Howls of Ebb’s surreal Death Metal is not only confirmed by their intricate compositions. Few Avant-Garde doses behind the curtains, a bit of the totally chaotic points in which HoE reduce speeds and whisper mostly incomprehensible words, a bit of experimenting on the riffs that are reminiscent of ‘Altars of Madness’, the ominous percussions that make you imagine a black hole swallowing our whole existence, the mysterious passages between different compositions reminiscent of dark ceremonies… what else do you need?
We are dealing with an extremely atmospheric album that needs a lot of listening to understand it. ‘Cursus Impasse’ singularity is enforced also by the abstract lyrics that are basically focused on esoteric visions, while Italian’s Agostino Arrivabene unique painting is used as a cover. Weird release, not for the many, but for those who want their metal to be eccentric without being annoyingly or pretentiously sophisticated.