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Ethers Edge – Return To Type

February 10, 2011 by  

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Ethers Edge – Return To Type

NAME: Ethers Edge
ALBUM: Return To Type
DATE: 28February2011

LABEL: Self-Release


FIVE WORD REVIEW: God, When Will It End?

LOCATION: Grantham, UK

LINE UP: Bazza Preece – Guitar, Bass, Synth, Vocals, Drums, Simmy Blankley – Guitar, Emmy Hemstock – Cajon, Adam Chippendale – Guitar, Jesse Frizzell – Drums

ethers edge.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: ‘Return To Type’ is a puzzling title for the debut album from the maddeningly named Ethers Edge. Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe in their name? Return to what type? 1970s style prog? Judging by the very serious looking artwork this seems to be the case. So many questions thrown up by the album cover alone, but wait! There’s more! Get ready for some chin-scratching action – this effort is a concept album! Ohh, how very intriguing… Given the calibre of modern concept records (The Mars Volta, anyone?) this is arguably an enticing prospect. Additionally, Ethers Edge are oft compared to such greats as Opeth, Tool and impressively, Led Zeppelin. Delightful! Perhaps the ol’ lack of an apostrophe should be forgiven then?

SOUNDS LIKE: No. Absolutely not.

Rare is the album with next to nothing to redeem itself, but we‘ve struck gold here. ‘Return to Type’ is a concept album about a poor unfortunate soul contending with his inner demons. So far, so metal. The guy (with his demons as wingmen, I assume) then gets drunk and falls in love, and all goes well until those pesky demon fellows return to haunt him and blahblahblah. I don’t care and neither should you. From start to finish, Ethers Edge drone on and on and on, treating your poor savaged ears to the kind of whiny lyrics that should remain under lock and key in a teenage Goth’s diary, or at the very least in their GCSE English coursework. Really. It’s that bad. For instance ‘The Routine’ is nothing more than a guy bitching about the triviality of daily life, going to work and suchlike, and attempting to find some profundity in his complaints. Ugh. The song is as boring and repetitive as the life he bemoans – by the parting lines of ‘just break the routine’ (repeated several times) you’re grateful for the end, and wishing the band would take their own advice as far as song structure is concerned.

To add insult to injury, the delivery of these lines is so off key, so jumbled in with the atmospherics (if you can stomach referring to a few screechy noises as ‘atmospherics’) that it is almost laughable. ‘Surely,’ you think, ‘someone is playing a cruel joke on me, comparing this band to Led Zeppelin.’ It’s like they threw the songs together in about four seconds, shrugged their collective shoulders and moved onto the next. Honestly, it’s like they didn’t even try. Each song is excruciatingly slow, and blurs into the next without fanfare. After what seems like eons pass, a quick glance at the track list confirms that no, you are only halfway through. Hold your weary head in your hands as it’s not about to get any better.

About half of this album is filled with brooding slow burners than would send the less resilient of you to sleep, while the other is full of pointless, very slight breakdowns. Every now and again some electric guitars appear that sound like they have been recorded in a public toilet, tinny, weak and without menace. For instance on opening track, Here I Am, what should be a heavy metallic crunch that kicks in at a crucial moment is reduced to a wimpy, far away sound. A polite cough of music which should be yelling in your face. This record is almost traumatic in it’s dullery, an exercise in self-indulgence that by the end leaves the listener cold and angry that an hour of their life has been wasted on this aural tripe.

I’d like to find some kind of plus point, some kind of silver lining on this cloud of unpleasantness, but alas, there is none to be found. There is some excellent prog out there – the vast majority of it is intricate, cleverly made, spectacular music that reveals something new upon each listen. This, sadly is far from it.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: Do yourself a favour and steer well clear of this album, it’s god-awful.

LINK: http://www.ethersedge.co.uk

Submitted By Nadia



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