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Ethir Anduin : Loneliness of My Life

Ethir Anduin provide well produced Atmospheric Black/Doom that ultimately ends up feeling directionless.

Ethir Anduin are a Russian Doom band that have been producing music for about a decade now. They tend to switch between nature-based and depressing lyrics/song titles, and given the high number of Russian bands that tend to have releases containing depressing/self-pitying sont titles, itís safe to say that I preferred Ethir Anduin when they were more focused on the countryside than their countless sighs. That said, thereís very little that is actually depressing about what is frankly a somewhat up-tempo album, at least by Doom standards.

The first thing that struck me about Ethir Anduinís seventh full-length album was how smooth it was. The production sounds absolutely impeccable; kudos to them for that. Itís difficult to pull off a good Doom release with such impressive production though. Everything needs to be meticulously done as thereís nowhere to hide, whereas on a release with less impressive production thereís lots of scope for evasion and distractions.

Despite their excellent production - and it really does sound like a release from a band that have been at the top of the tree for a long time now - Iím not convinced that they have done enough with their actual compositions to make music to match. For starters - and this is coming from a man that really enjoys intros/outros/Ambient music - I think that the tracks take far too long to begin. Itís not even a build-up; I can live with that, and even enjoy it sometimes. Itís basically deliberation of some nature, which doesnít serve any purpose that I can detect. When I listen to other instrumental Doom bands (e.g. Men In Search Of The Perfect Weapon) I get an idea of where the music is supposed to be going, or where itís supposed to be leading the listener, but I seldom had that feeling place on 'Loneliness Of My Life'.

When the tracks do kick in, they just sound rather empty to me, which is really challenging to describe because theyíre mostly rather fast and involved tracks. I understand that the flavour of the album is supposed to be loneliness but I really donít feel like theyíve conveyed the sadness of such feeling places anywhere near well enough. At times, I feel like their music is too up-tempo for such a message to be conveyed accurately. At other times, their music is crying out for some kind of atmospheric instrument to take over but there isnít one. A cello, flute, violin, piano - any of them would have been a fine addition here. However, Ethir Anduin boldly plough onward, attempting to create an emotional atmosphere without anything to garner emotion. A curious take!

The only instrument that Ethir Anduin uses to generate some kind of atmosphere is keys, and although they do add a bit of drama from time to time, it understandably doesnít go anywhere. I also donít think itís helped out on the vocals front because theyíre few and far between, and when they are present, theyíre not particularly good. Most tracks have a sprinkling of spoken Russian, and thatís it, which is standard enough for an instrumental release but it doesnít help them achieve their goal here.

I understand why the band doesnít have a flair for emotional instruments, given their ties to Black Metal. I mean, this is purported to be a Black/Doom album, for clarity. You will find bursts of Emperor-esque Black Metal here, which suits me just fine. However, Black Metal and Doom Metal are very similar in terms of whatís required to make them work so playing Black Metal in such a clean production can be very detrimental without the right composition and the right vocals. Therefore, I find it hard to be seduced by the Black Metal aspects of this Black/Doom release despite some terrific guitarwork and solid drumming.

Additionally, Iím not even sure I can even get away with describing this release as ďBlack/DoomĒ because there needs to be more vocal input for that to be the case in my little world. The reality of 'Loneliness Of My Life' is that itís predominantly instrumental music in a Black/Doom fashion with the odd Ambient section. Although I think the production is top-drawer, as are the technically gifted musicians, I just canít buy into 'Loneliness Of My Life' because thereís nothing to make it stand out in terms of musical quality. A band like this cannot be far away from releasing a seriously good album but whilst itís as empty and seemingly directionless as this one is, itís hard for me to be particularly praising of the Russian band. If more of their tracks were like, 'In The Abyss Of Unconsciousness' then Iíd probably be more of a fan but that still wouldnít change my overall opinion, which is that this album needs vocals to work.

To summarise, 'Loneliness Of My Life' is a masterful production of songs that donít go anywhere, comparable to the urge for a pizza whilst drunk. The first slice is just perfect, but then you donít want any more and end up falling asleep, wondering why you got the pizza in the first place. This music may not have put me into a narcosis, but it has left me questioning what the initial point was. I also wish I had a pizza now.

Anyway - thereís hope for this band as few in this sub-genre can claim to have such impeccable production. Whether they get there or not is another matter. For now, this music doesnít do much for me but a few minor adjustments would be likely to significantly change my opinion.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Lethargy
2. Life Is Punishment
3. Anchor
4. Unhealed Wounds
5. Cold Embrace Of Death
6. In The Abyss Of Unconsciousness
7. 7:06 AM
8. Meaningless Existence

Duration : Approx. 69 minutes

Visit the Ethir Anduin bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-04-16 by Ian Morrissey
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