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Album Reviews : Ephrat – No One's Words

By on August 20, 2008

“No One’s Words” is the debut album from Israeli progressive rock band Ephrat. With Tomer Z on drums (who worked with Blackfield), and Steven Wilson producing the album, I assumed that I would be able to find some decent information on the band, but I was wrong. In fact I have not been able to find one scrap of information about the band prior to this release. So, on to the album…

While it is clear that a large majority of the album is strongly influenced by Porcupine Tree, there is quite a wide range of other styles thrown into the mixture here. The problem is, the main style of the album is also the least interesting. A fair bit of the progressive rock material is simply boring and stale. The first five or so minutes of the opening track “The Show” is a bit of a bore, as are several parts of the 19-minute epic “Real (attempts I-3)”. The vocals don’t help much either. They are fairly standard prog rock cleans, but tend to sound flat and drone on parts which in turn dulls the music down even more. They aren’t bad, but leave a bit to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of interesting progressive rock parts in here too, but you have to sit through a bit of dull material to get to it.

Skip to just over 5 minutes into the album and some of their more interesting and varied material starts to appear. Middle Eastern music features fairly prominently on here with a variety of drums, strings and flutes giving certain parts of the album a very authentic feel. Close your eyes and you can quite easily picture yourself over there standing under a palm tree, avoiding the burning sun and listening to street performers playing.

There are also occasional moments that have a more Rock ’n’ Roll feel to them. The guitar solo at the end of “The Show” sounds like it could be straight off a classic rock/metal album from years back, as do some of Daniel Gildenlöw’s (Pain of Salvation) guest vocals on “The Sum Of Damage Done). I would definitely like to see the band use a bit more of this rock attitude in their music because it certainly makes the overall album a bit livelier.

Track two, “Haze”, is easily my favourite of the album. Beginning with a clean guitar that skips and repeats itself like a broken record, this is when they broaden out from normal progressive rock and they get a bit more experimental. The drums at the beginning have a slight tinge of jazz to them and sound great. Petronella Nettermalm (Paatos) features as the other guest vocalist of the album and gives the track a bit of a mellow doom overtone in the heavier bits and a soft, innocent one in the quiet parts. In between the prog rock bits are some beautiful but haunting clean guitars, reminiscent of Opeth’s quieter bits, with whispered vocals over the top; one of the few moments on the album that really creates a mood. The end of this song made me laugh out loud when I first heard it. The riffing and rumming just speeds up and up and up, with some wild bass guitar joining in the fun until it’s so crazy it almost sounds like carnival music. Then it just stops suddenly, with a few soft female vocals coming back in for the last 15 seconds.

This album has very high high’s and very low low’s. The parts where Omer’s writing leaps out of the box and gets a bit more experimental make it well worth sitting through the less interesting material for. And as expected from somebody like Steven Wilson, the mix here is top notch and couldn’t be much better. 7.4/10

Band: Ephrat
Album: No One’s Words
Year: 2008
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Inside Out Music
Origin: Israel
http://www.myspace.com/omerephrat

Track listing:
1. The Show
2. Haze <- Reviewers Choice
3. Better Than Anything
4. Blocked
5. The Sum Of Damage Done (Silhouettes i-V)
6. Real (attempts I-3)

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.