Ebony Tears - Tortura Insomniae
Black Sun Records
Folky Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (53:06)
Release year: 1997
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

I have to say that Ebony Tears are one of the most unique melodic death metal bands that I have come across. From the vocals to the strange use of melody and folk elements, the Swedish quartet knows how to keep your attention. The musical style has often been compared to later At The Gates, although they certainly have their own take on the melodic death sound. This is also an album that has been overlooked by many or passed off as just another melodeath clone. Fortunately this is far from the truth.

Moonlight starts out with some raw and distorted guitar riffs as well as some lighter clean electric guitar that soon goes into the first melodic riffs of the song. There are also some folk elements here in the form of a violin. The vocals, handled by Johnny Wranning, are pretty raw, reminding me somewhat of At The Gates' vocalist but a little more understandable. This is somewhat of a long song but it is a good start to the album as it introduces what you can expect from this album. Freak Jesus comes in next with really catchy guitar riffs that got my attention immediately. The raw growls of Wranning come in with a lot of energy that I really like, and he uses a more shouted style near the chorus which is a good change. Nectar Of Eden is another memorable track that starts out with softer folk elements that lead into catchy guitar riffs once again. The melodic guitar work is really what keeps me coming back to this song. There are also some nice female vocals in this song that fit really well. With Tears In My Eyes starts out with the folkish violin sounds again and then shreds through your ears with quickly changing riffs. Towards the end of the song there is a slower instrumental interlude followed by some really good clean vocals. The songs just keep changing while still staying within the realm of the melodeath sound. I think the thing I like about this album the most is that no two songs sound the same, there is always something different to be heard. Opacity starts out with some nice female vocals and clean electric and acoustic guitar. After a minute or so the guitars and folk violin come in to speed things up. The raw vocals of Johnny Wranning come in to blast into your ears for a bit, and then the female vocals alternate with his, which I think creates an interesting contrast in the song. However, this song can get a bit lengthy as it is close to 7 minutes long. Spoonbender is a more traditional melodeath track starting out with a quick tempo of blasting drums and guitar riffs, transitioning into a softer interlude before the growls of Wranning come in. The song continues are a pretty quick pace, keeping your attention with fuzzy guitar riffs and heavy drums. Some folk elements do come in towards the middle and end of the song, which is a nice change. The final track is the ten-minute epic Skunk Hour. What you get here is a lot of quick riffing, with some more instrumental elements coming in towards the middle of the song as well as clean vocals.

I've had Tortura Insomniae for a while now and I still find myself coming back to it from time to time because it's just an enjoyable listen. It's really a shame that the band is not around anymore since they split up in 2002. The unique sound of this band should be inspiration to other in the genre who are tired of the same old stuff. Ebony Tears have shown that there are many ways to be original and different whether it's through folk elements, some interesting melodies, or even some female vocals in the mix. Either way this is an album that will keep you entertained from start to finish.

Killing Songs :
Moonlight, Freak Jesus, Nectar Of Eden, Spoonbender
Khelek quoted 88 / 100
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