Howls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye

howls_of_ebb_front_1500pxEnveloped and empowered by the rancid earth covering death metal’s long dead ancient ones, California’s Howls of Ebb claw their way up from obscurity. Though the past may indeed give Howls of Ebb sustenance, Vigils of the 3rd Eye is an impressive debut full-length that acts as a mighty statement of originality that hints at influences, but triumphs over them to obtain and sustain this bands own truly unique voice.

Having been sitting with this release for a week now, I find myself returning to it daily, for the dark recesses of Howls of Ebb’s ghastly atmosphere is malevolent in ways that touch on the exalted bones of old Demilich and Order From Chaos, yet rarely sound like either band. The riffs are serpentine as they snake through tormented tremolo melodies as on the fast and effective “Opulent Ghouls” before upholding the dynamic pulse and push of “The Arc. The Vine. The Blight.” as that track erupts into acidic guitar layers that torture the forces of melody into a fit of chaos. The delivery and the musical/guitar ideas are pleasingly atypical in their own right, but what further takes Hows of Ebb’s sound to the next dimension is the guitar tone. I think we are all quite used to the thick as a free range bison guitar tone that has many roots in Scandinavian soil, so this has become a standard fair for modern death metal to perpetuate. It seems that Howls of Ebb have also noticed the years of sonic complacency and approached their sound from a different angle that was initially confusing, but after repeated listens, it strikes me as the perfect fit. The guitar tone walks the line between veiled distortion and a clean buzz at the same time. The results are downright demented and completely unique. Every note is audible and this surprisingly diverse sound rips at your senses for the speed and heavy segments of aggression, and feels just as vital when the layers of metal punishment are stripped back for quieter moments of music as found on tracks like “Of Heel, Cyst and Lung” to accentuate and balance this power trio’s songwriting inventiveness. The thriving hive of sound is further tied together by a complex and infinitely interesting drum performance (many atypical beats hurl this music along nicely) and the haunted vocals of guitarist zEleFtANd. His delivery is centred on dank, deep and abysmal moans/whispers for a throaty demonic diatribe. It all boils together nicely and sets this band apart from so many other bands coming up these days that cling to their satanic and convoluted tones that finds a vast share of their music blending together in a detuned wash of redundancy.

Vigils of the 3rd Eye is a challenging and endlessly entertaining strike of imaginative death metal. From the hand painted artwork adorning this body of work, Howls of Ebb are an organic and infinitely dark entity of corrupted sounds. Quite the impressive debut indeed. -Marty
I, Voidhanger Records

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~ by martyworm on January 22, 2014.

3 Responses to “Howls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye”

  1. They don’t sound influenced, they sound like AN influence. with better sound quality.

  2. This is pretty interesting. The guitars are very unique for a death metal band and very often do not sound death metal at all. This is one of those bands that makes you realize how inside the box most bands are with their approach to songwriting. Interested in hearing the full album.

  3. Once the CD is out, the whole thing will be available for streaming at Bandcamp. In the meantime here’s another preview song, “Illucid Illuminati Of The Dark”:

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