Ethersens – Your Wandering Ghost
Ethersens – Your Wandering Ghost (2014)
Reviewed by Mark Nagy
French progressive metal outfit Ethersens has released its second album, Your Wandering Ghost, this month on Scarlet Records (a label that we at Black Wind Metal have the utmost level of respect for). While both the label and the band’s own website refer to the band as ‘avant garde’, don’t be fooled: they’re as pedestrian as any shoegaze-tinged post metal band, of which it seems like hundreds have inundated the progressive scene over the last few years. They’re about 10 years past their chance to be innovative, but I won’t hold false promotional promises against a band, especially when there’s far more compelling things to hold against them. Foreshadowing!
I’ve acquainted myself fairly well with the post-scene over the last several years, and there are bands I certainly do enjoy. Take for example Sigur Ros, supremely talented in creating deep musical atmospheres that completely draw in the listener to a unique listening experience. There’s also bands like Anathema, who mold the unique textures of post rock with absolutely stunning musicianship and songwriting. I enjoy bands that take something that is fascinating in a small dose, and break the genre in their own way. Ethersens’ contribution to this movement is a world that’s dark enough to be uncomfortable, without seeming altogether worthwhile.
Post/progressive metal lives and breathes dynamic emotion that brings the soundscapes to life. Ethersens however, impressed me significantly on the first song, and then significantly less on each subsequent track. They’re taking a melancholy, borderline angry sadness, and slowing it down to absolute tedium to satisfy a directionless artistic vision. I can say by the time I was finished listening to this album, my only appreciation was a vague positive association I had with the guitar tone, which, although stronger as the album went on, ultimately qualified as polish on something I didn’t care to look at to begin with.
For those with the endurance to sit through to the end, Your Wandering Ghost does end on two songs I can legitimately enjoy: “Waking Disorder” and “To Live Is To Forget”. However, by now the damage is done. Ethersens manages to create sparks of brilliance at certain points throughout the album, but their ambition is simply less than their confidence. There is, I am sure, a kind of angsty listener with which this could potentially resonate well. However, there is nothing noteworthy I could really point out. For a progressive album, I am completely underwhelmed with the quality and creativity of the music, and there’s not enough great guitar tones in the world to save an album from that.
1.75 // 5