Every time Ecnephias release a new album, in my case the wait of the admirer of the first hour is thwarted by the need to write what impressions it has aroused in me and, dealing with a band that has never released a record stylistically contiguous to the previous one, it is always difficult to imagine what to expect. For some time now, on a biannual basis, Mancan and co. have been offering works of great quality, starting with the disruptive Inferno (2011), passing through the more extreme Necrogod (2013) to reach the darker oriented self-titled album of 2015. Personally, I thought that the sounds present in that last work represented stylistically the Pillars of Hercules for the band from Lucania, imagining that it was the furthest point from metal within which they could push: The Sad Wonder Of The Sun punctually denies this conjecture of mine, representing on the contrary the free sailing of musicians free from stylistic conditioning of any kind towards unexplored territories so far. To understand what I mean it can be useful to start from the fifth track Nouvelle Orleans, where you are greeted by hints of reggae that are light years away from the harshness of Necrogod (not to mention the black death doom, although from time to time changing, Dominium Noctis and Ways Of Descention) but that, paradoxically, do not go to affect the Ecnephias trademark; moreover, this song does not even represent the maximum deviation from a hypothetical metal high road, since the final You is an excellent episode of almost radiophonic rock, with a guitar that stands out as a protagonist more than in other moments. Said of the most emblematic tracks of the new course, the album turns out to be a collection of nine songs certainly usable, at least if compared with those contained in the previous work, but this should not take a negative meaning representing, rather, a form of evolution also risky, as it is not sure that it can find unanimous approval, especially by those who consider the first two albums of the decade the most significant in the career of Ecnephias. The truth is that the music of Lucanian, in all its possible guises, is always a poison that insinuates slowly and that, after each step in the player, acquires thickness and makes the listener aware of having come across yet another album of great thickness. And then, that little bit of initial bewilderment in finding the legacies of the past only in the rare passages in growl of a Mancan more and more singer and interpreter, in the most complete sense of the term, vanishes in front of the sharp chorus that every song reserves, with honorable mention in the first part for Gitana and Povo De Santo, and in the second half for Quimbanda and Maldiluna, in which the Italian singing makes its mark again, together with a melodic inspiration that, in the first case, is subjugated to a more pressing rhythm and in the second one, instead, touches the highest point of the record for evocativeness and poetic breath, despite catchy electronic cues can initially mislead. The hooks to the past production, however, are not lacking, especially with the magnificent Sad Summer Night, a track that leads back to the most emotionally intense moments of Inferno, and the same applies in part to the equally obscure A Stranger. The Sad Wonder Of The Sun is an elegant album full of atmospheres and winning melodies, that must be listened to without any prejudice, which after all has always been the right way to approach the music of Ecnephias: in this case, however, we can’t talk about a leap forward compared to the previous work of the same name, but, metaphorically, about the running jump from one train to another to end up on a track that could lead to new and unexpected future scenarios, making believe at the moment unlikely a possible reversal. Dark, melodic and atmospheric as never happened before: these are the Ecnephias of 2017, proud standard-bearers of a Mediterranean identity in the rock and metal field, to which never fails that peculiarity that is characteristic only of the bands of higher category.
2017 – My Kingdom Music