ECNEPHIAS – Ecnephias
This Italian quintet have been around since the late 90’s as Ecnephias, releasing their fifth, self-titled studio album. The 11 songs in the main (outside of "Here Begins the Chaos" and "Satiriasi" as intro/outro) give the listener a lot of gothic/death textures, the band setting things up with atmospheric elements, clean/growling vocals, and a lot of cultural textures to keep the songwriting fresh. Acts like Moonspell, Crematory, and Tiamat certainly come up often when taking in "A Field of Flowers", the relatively upbeat "The Criminal", and depressingly haunting "Wind of Doom" – especially through the phrasing and delivery of guitarist/programmer Mancan, who could be a twin to Fernando Ribeiro.
At 69 minutes, "Ecnephias" does wear out its welcome at the 45-50 minute mark, the ideas and hook lines a little too familiar to their influences – certain parts of "Nyctophilia" for instance rely on a lot of commercial riff techniques that put Paradise Lost in the spotlight during their "Draconian Times" heydays. For those who miss the early to mid-1990’s proliferation of bands in the gothic metal genre that went a little darker and heavier, Ecnephias will provide a trip down memory lane.