Ephel Duath - RePhormula
Elitist Records
Blackened Avant-Garde Metal
13 songs (1:13:23)
Release year: 2002
Ephel Duath
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

There’s something uniquely insane about Ephel Duath’s music, even after you’ve listened a few times and are ‘used’ to it. In accordance with their goal of not belonging to any specific type of genre or musical movement, the then-line-up of Giuliano Mogicato and Davide Tiso fashioned their own sound, which makes classifying this close to impossible. An Avant-Garde blend of Norwegian Black Metal godfathers Emperor and Limbonic Art is probably the best way to describe RePhormula, with heavy electronics giving it a mild Industrial vibe. Although it lacks the Jazz influences that would come to give later albums from the Italians their special bite, this re-release of the band’s debut has a beguiling violence all of its own, mixing melody with chaos in style.

Particularly impressive are the aforementioned electronics. All of the drumming on this album is programmed, and it takes a fair amount of concentration to notice, such is the skill and variety at work here, from light-speed blastbeats to more complex and experimental arrangements. Techno beats are also used, sparingly but effectively, mixing with the other percussion to create perfect backing – The Flickering Warmth showing them off especially well. Samples are used as well, for example on Myriads, an instrumental lullaby that is a moment of unsettling calm before the title track builds up to impact. Keyboards throughout are varied and provide lightness to the gnarly Black Metal base, but never are given priority. Instead, they are integrated into the overall chaotic sound, working with the guitars and vocals rather than against them.

Guiliano Mogicato’s vocals are mostly screamed (he sounds remarkably like Emperor’s Ihsahn in the old days) although there is some rare singing, the band clearly not wanting to overuse clean vocals. Guitars weave in and out, much as other bands would use keyboards, riffs varying from Folky (The Danza) to the more typical Thrashy type. The songwriting as a whole is excellent, several tracks flowing directly into each other, and the last few seconds of Insomnia’s Desert repeating the album’s opening melody. Give it time and patience and the songs will make more sense the more you listen; although as mentioned there will always be that mentally unhinged aspect to it all.

This re-release also contains two remixes and about half of the band’s 1998 Opera demo as bonuses, which explore the Industrial and Neo-Classical aspects of the music respectively. For once, these bonus tracks are of high-quality, and are all worth listening to; making this package even more worthwhile for fans of any experimental extreme music (fans of early Arcturus and Solefald especially) who haven’t picked up on Ephel Duath’s early, Blackened days, as opposed to the Jazzy Hardcore route that they follow currently. Not to diminish what the band have achieved with The Painter’s Palette and Pain Necessary To Know, but those even more obtuse albums are even harder to comprehend without knowing the band’s roots – roots well worth getting to grips with in this modern classic.

Killing Songs :
The Embossed, Greynesses Grow Already Old, The Danza, The Flickering Warmth, Phormula, Insomnia’s Desert
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Ephel Duath that we have reviewed:
Ephel Duath - Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 55 / 100
Ephel Duath - On Death and Cosmos reviewed by Jaime and quoted No Quote
Ephel Duath - Through My Dog's Eyes reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Ephel Duath - Pain Necessary to Know reviewed by Charles and quoted 65 / 100
Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
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