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Some black metal values primitivism above all else. Hell, even I’ve referred to certain releases as "being performed in the old way." You know the type - ham-fisted riffs over sloppily blasted drums. The good stuff, the meat and potatoes which keeps you full, the mid-'90s Darkthrone clones which clog the Metal-Archives servers. Anyone who challenges this standard - the polished, progressive bands which work their way out from the rubble - are quickly dashed as "lame" and set aside. Thus is the bane of a young, minimalism-driven genre. I’d pose the question to you, the reader, if the aforementioned style is overdone, but my constant enjoyment of raw black metal keeps me from ethically asking that question. And yet… wouldn’t it be neat if someone managed to effectively bridge the gap of black metal conservatism and musical proficiency?

If you had told me, say, a year ago that Indiana-based Ecferus would be the "missing link," I would have laughed. At the risk of sounding crude, sole musician Alp’s first outing, the clumsy, awkward Prehistory, was… not good [Hey, I liked it - Ed.], and yet Ecferus’s very quick evolution over the past year, culminating in last July’s The Tourniquet Hemisphere EP, piqued my interest. Alp’s quickly-adapted progressive, dizzying sound hinted at a greater musical talent, beyond his angular songwriting chops. With Pangaea, Ecferus’s upcoming sophomore full-length, these suspected "technical chops" are fully unveiled. Alp’s dazzling guitar work finds that perfect medium between black metal’s melodic, tremolo picked chord progressions and a greater progressive mindset. "Reciprocity of Disrepair," found in the latter half of Pangaea, is a tremendous showcase of the balance which defines Ecferus’s fully-developed form: a heavy dose of tweaked, melodic riffing, strong guitar work (listen to that solo!), and an even stronger sense of musicianship gone largely ignored by black metal in its 30 years of existence.

Listen to an exclusive stream of "Reciprocity of Disrepair" from Ecferus’s upcoming full-length Pangaea, slated for a February 5 release on I, Voidhanger Records below.

—Jon Rosenthal

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Follow Ecferus on Facebook or on twitter at @ecferusmusic.

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