It's been a long time since I have been truly terrified by music. I believe the first time I looked over my shoulder whilst listening to something was my first experience with Moëvöt when I was 15, but I digress. With their sophomore album, Boston super experimental metal trio Ehnahre has created something captivating and horrifying in the best way possible. Drawing influence ranging from free jazz and avant-garde modern classical music to progressive rock and death metal (Gorguts comes to mind), Ehnahre refer to their brand of off-kilter avant-metal as "Witch Metal."
Moving further into abstraction, "Taming the Cannibals" shows Ehnahre at their most experimental. Featuring 6 monstrous tracks of chaotic and highly unorthodox death metal. Featuring absolutely zero tone center (see: Atonality), "Taming" jaggedly stumbles through periods of trudging doom, blasting black metal, time signature changes, and amorphous noise. Tying all of these musical elements together is the impressive drumming of Ricardo Donoso, whose impeccable rhythmic feel and understanding of musical space adds to the overall intensity of this album in spades. Rising above the cacophony are the choking, tortured vocals of bassist/percussionist Ryan McGuire and guitarist John Carchia, portraying the inner turmoils of a maddened poet. Contrasting the nightmarish dual harsh vocal attack are Jonah Jenkins's (Raw Radar War/Only Living Witness/Milligram/Miltdown) soft, dreamy lullaby vocals. Lyrically, we see Ehnahre at their most poetic:
Of this speechless grief; nights
Filled with tears, fiery angels.
Silvery a childlike skeleton smashes on a bleak wall
-From "Foehn (Lullaby)"
With language that, as far as I can tell, is highly influenced by American avant-poet, transcendentalist, and humanist Walt Whitman, we see the brains in this band extend beyond their heady arrangements and sink into the core of the music itself.
Though it is hard to explain just what Ehnahre is, the best way I could think to do so is if modern composer/philosopher George Crumb grew his hair long, joined Aussie doomsters diSEMBOWELMENT, and attempted to do Gorguts covers. A challenging and, at first, almost uninviting listen, we see Ehnahre breaking down walls and reinventing what we know as "music" in general. Original and effective, this is one of those albums that will be remembered for its ingenuity for years to come.
"Taming the Cannibals" was released TODAY, November 9th, 2010, and you can pick it up and listen to samples here at Crucial Blast.