After eight years of activity and five albums under their belt (including this latest A Etilla), Ea have managed to deservedly gain a space in the funeral doom scene as well as the attention of fans. The fact that they play a genre that by its nature does not attract masses of screaming fans has greatly facilitated their choice to maintain total anonymity, surrounding everything outside the pure musical proposal with absolute mystery. In this way, for those who find themselves having to talk about the band’s work, the only starting point are the long tracks capable of transporting the listener through gloomy but not desperate scenarios, in which melancholy is the authentic common factor. Over the years, Ea‘s proposal has remained rather faithful to the patterns of the beginnings: long litanies in which guitar and keyboards take turns in leading melodies that are certainly more usable than most bands operating in the field, with a rather canonical growl reciting lyrics in a made-up language, a detail that all in all may have its relative charm but nothing more. Rather, the band’s strength lies in its apparent simplicity, but I would emphasize the word apparent precisely because, in a genre such as funeral doom, instrumental acrobatics or disruptive innovative abilities are certainly not demanded: the listener goes in search of emotions conveyed by sounds that manifest the slow oblivion and transience of existence, and Ea in this sense are a genuine guarantee. Although their production enjoys a certain uniformity, both qualitatively and stylistically, not every album released is of equal value: I personally love Ea II and the self-titled Ea, while I have always considered both the debut Ea Taesse and Au Ellai slightly inferior; maintaining the alternation between good albums, in the case of the odd-numbered, and works close to perfection in the even-numbered, A Etilla thus appears to be a slightly less inspired version of its predecessor, with which, however, it has much in common, starting with the tracklist consisting of a single suite lasting about three quarters of an hour and a rather similar alternation in distribution between the more poignant instrumental parts and the moments in which the riffs tend to become more robust, but never excessively so. After several listens, this long journey into suffused sorrow and consoling yearning produced by the linear but compelling melodies of the mysterious doomsters succeeds in definitively winning over even if, as mentioned, the splendid harmonic lines that were unleashed on the self-titled album become apparent only in places, producing a result that is absolutely pleasant but not enough to equal its beauty in toto. That said, listening to A Etilla is dutifully recommended to all those who love melodic funeral, but it is certain that the recent release of Eye Of Solitude’s masterpiece, Canto III, has raised the bar a lot for anyone who ventures into the genre, including historic or cult bands like Ea.
2014 – Solitude Productions