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Review: The Ethereal - From Funeral Skies
The Ethereal
From Funeral Skies

Label: Marche Funebre Productions
Year released: 2005
Originally released in: 2002
Duration: 57:52
Tracks: 4
Genre: Funeral Doom


Review online: August 18, 2008
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
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Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)

The Ethereal is a project of the prolific multi-instrumentalist Stijn Van Cauter (he of such bands as Fall of the Grey-Winged One, Until Death Overtakes Me and Beyond Black Void amongst many, many others). Founded back in 2002, it was brought into existence to mirror his Until Death Overtakes Me project, albeit with a harsher, colder, more minimalistic edge (if you've heard the slow, droning ambient decrepitude of Until Death Overtakes Me before however, you might find that hard to believe).

Originally released back in 2002 on Totentroll (a sub-label of the now defunct UK label Rage of Achilles), this is the re-release of the album, which has been re-recorded and an extra 4th track added on Marche Funebre Productions. As you might expect by Stijn's other projects, this is as droning, dirge-like and downright depressing as music gets. Entire worlds form and die in the time between each over-distorted chord struck, allowing the trebly, fizzing guitars to bleed slowly to into oblivion along with the cavernous bass notes tearing holes in the space-time continuum behind them, the occasional cymbal hit and drum crashes merely acting as exclamation points for the devastating funereal amplifier abuse. Vocally, Stijn gurgles his guttural moans in an almost whispered manner, adding an intense yet serene veil of sorrow over the crushing oceans of music which they float over, plunging the depths of absolute suffering in his lyrics.

To be honest, there isn't a huge amount of difference between this and Until Death Overtakes Me, apart from a lesser usage of synthesizers for a more hard-hitting vibe. Similarly to music from bands such as Sunn 0))), The Ethereal relies solely on listener patience for its treasures to be revealed in their entirety (this isn't music for A.D.H.D sufferers in the slightest, as each of the four tracks on the album range between 10 and 17 minutes). Multiple replays on headphones at night are my personal recommendation for these types of releases to give their greatest of rewards. The Ethereal undoubtedly do reward however, with a claustrophobic and intensive album that stares deeply into the void.

More about The Ethereal...
Review: From Funeral Skies (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
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