Ekklesiast - Cold
Solitude Productions
Melodic Doomdeath
10 songs (50'21")
Release year: 2005
Ekklesiast, Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Adam
Creativity, as well as the will to test the boundaries of their sound, are two qualities that endear a band to me. I enjoy hearing a band that really sounds like they want to offer me something fresh and exciting, as opposed to borrowing from a generally accepted formula. Russian band Ekklesiast have this quality in spades. Their newest album Cold, their debut effort on Solitude Productions, is an amalgam of doomdeath, gothic metal, and even thrash. Not a conventional combination by any means, but it appears that this band wants to be known as anything but conventional.

The album begins with Flower of Dismay, and it is immediately apparent that this is not an average doom outfit. A clean guitar intro is joined by a slow-pace guitar chunk, made to appear even slower by the odd drumming. Actually, I really felt that the drums were a little underused on this song. There were moments that I really found myself getting into it, particularly in the clean portions where the male/female vocal duet of Alexandr Senin and Luba Medvedeva really shine. However, there were a few overly abrupt changes in pace that make the song seem too pieced together. After this song, I did not expect much from the remainder of the album, but I was pleasantly surprised with the next song, Microcosmos. The speed is heightened significantly, and the star production work of bassist Artyom Dolina is showcased in the guitar sound that is at the same time both full enough to sound professional, yet distorted enough to give the song a frenzied feel. Also, Senin’s layered growls sound near perfect accompanied once again by Medvedeva’s soft background cry. This momentum is only heightened by Release from Reveries, which utilizes the same frantic guitar pace as its predecessor, while adding more clean guitar breaks and dynamic drums.

Actually, it was while listening to this song that a notion occurred to me. Though it may sound strange coming from a doom fan such as myself, Ekklesiast sounds a great deal better when they speed up the pace. When things are slowed down to normal doomdeath pace, the drums of Ferki Vidishichi seem unsure of their place, and sound a bit disjointed. In contrast, they sound more than adequate while keeping time for a faster affair such as Microcosmos.

Back to the album, where Medvedeva makes her last guest appearance on the magnificent Turning to Ice, which smartly makes use of both distorted and clean guitar riffs that somehow appear to always be descending. There is even a solo of sorts thrown in at the end. Eyes of Alien Worlds opens with a very thrash-influenced take on doom, which sounds interesting if you’re a fan of both genres as I am. I applauded how, just as it seemed the repetition of the opening riff was becoming a bit much, they change things up with about a minute left. This act alone turned a possibly mediocre song into a very good one. Flame of Desires introduces a different side of the band, as we are treated to an opening, and closing, display that could easily be referred to as “spaced out psychedelic”. The same riff is morphed into a distorted monster with positive results. In retrospect, this song contains the best guitar display on Cold. The peaceful, acoustic guitar interlude, Seasons, segues to Destiny’s End, and I must say at this point, this album is getting better with each song. The main riff is darkly empowering, and the calm clean guitar passages transition with the distorted mayhem of the majority of the song much better than they did towards the beginning of the album. This Earth Without Us, largely follows the same formula, with the acoustic guitars sounding very harp-like. The final track, Step to Eternity, does not do much for me, primarily because the lead guitar, which is the focal point of a good portion of the song, just sounds too improvised.

I really enjoyed this album; I just felt it was a bit hodgepodge. I would like to see Ekklesiast focus more on the faster doomdeath sound they use primarily. I always appreciate bands who try to incorporate unique aspects into their sound, even if they don’t always pan out. I would say that Ekklesiast is the most creative band on the Solitude Productions roster. They are simply a young band searching for the perfect formula for their sound. They didn’t quite get it with Cold, but they are getting close.
Killing Songs :
Microcosmos, Flame of Desires, Destiny's End
Adam quoted 73 / 100
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