Ehnahre – Taming the Cannibals
Release Date: 2010Nov09 (US)
Label: Crucial Blast
Perhaps it’s unfair to review this album after Atheist‘s latest. But it is ironic, considering both bands have influences from different schools of jazz, and the artwork on both Jupiter and Taming the Cannibals feature similar motifs. I love the Latin passages and expert fusion from the Floridians, but honestly have trouble with Beantown boys Ehnahre‘s exploration of free jazz. Some may recognize bassist/keyboardist Ryan McGuire and guitarist John Carchia from their work with Kayo Dot—particularly Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue. This is their second release of self-proclaimed “avant-garde death/doom metal”, that wreaks depressive devastation upon the listener.
Its digestibility challenges more than EyeHateGod‘s sludgy disquiet, and is less inviting than the aloof sunn0))). To a greater extent than the dissonant backdrops, the vocals are most likely to keep sensitive ears at bay, though all words are adapted from various poets like Georg Trakl and Walt Whitman. The lyric sheet is necessary—not just to read these well-written works, but because you can barely understand what is yowled. This detracts from the impact of the source material’s meter, although they could have just intended to approach it differently. Interestingly, the end of “Foehn (Lullaby)” features clean croons akin to Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), and “Animals” concludes with echoed chanting wails.
The thing is, you can have all the avant-garde-ness you please, but if your end product does not clearly result in a unified piece, the job is only half done. Which brings me back to the cover art, which I find reflects the band insofar as it loosely and haphazardly creates its general idea. One gets the sense of a rough framework that is completed differently with each performance—like Ehnahre could never play the same song twice. It would be foolish to assume that this style of music has no place, but by its very deconstructive nature, it must be sparingly unleashed.
Try 1, 3
01. The Clatterbones
02. Foehn (Lullaby)
04. Birth Dues
05. Revelation and Decline [instrumental]