Howls Of Ebb| ‘Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows’
How utterly, utterly strange.
It’s not just the first reaction hearing this – it’s probably the only reaction.
Because it stays that way with every spin.
Taking monstrous underground extreme metal places it genuinely hasn’t been to before isn’t easy.
But I think Howls Of Ebb might just be doing it.
A couple of years ago, Andy flagged up their debut as a bizarre little gem not to be missed. How right he was.
The insanity of this record is hard to capture in words, but what’s certain is its inherent grooviness that stretches right back to the likes of Celtic Frost, Nocturnus and the dawn of the underground.
This disgusting, difficult but absorbing album kicks off in a flurry of blasts and bellows, grabbing you tight with its tentacles and thrashing you around for dear life.
The guitar tone is like few things you’ll have heard before – an even stranger ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ perhaps, or Dodheimsgard, or Virus – yet it works like crazy.
It’s thin and weedy, but at the same time has a definite warmth and permanent, weird buzz, like the noise you hear when you stand too close to electricity pylons. It fizzes with its own field of energy. It sounds like Darth Vader’s voice from the latest Star Wars. I’ve never heard the like of it.
And that’s before the tortured, wailing, howling solos. Remember the first time you heard Jeff Hanneman’s crying solo in ‘Necrophobic’? They have that same chilling human feel to them.
‘Cabals Of Molder’ almost defies description it’s so odd. In fact for much of this record, the only comparison I feel able to make is like Fleurety or Swallowed’s similarly bonkers-but-brilliant ‘Lunarterial’.
Despite being so adverse to try to listen to, it’s its own story, it’s own world.
It is deliciously Lovecraftian- a jumble of images and unwords writhing around in a giant maw.
There is power too though. And a certain stilted groove. The madly titled ‘7 Ascetic Cinders, 8 Dowries of gA’nOm’ (answers on a postcard to the usual address) has a bit of Virus about it, and gives the impression of some horrid little creature ferreting about in a tomb.
The lightning fast drumming and utterly obscure playing style also reminds me of Absu and their madcap main man Proscriptor. In fact now I think of it, there’s a pretty huge Absu influence across this, and it’s audible in ‘Subliminal Lock – A Precursor To Vengeance’.
Dig that creepy riff in the middle with those shimmering mirror notes above it… it’s is almost frightening.
You just have to hear it. Despite the comparisons above, it is absolutely unlike anything else. Howls Of Ebb have created a voice that’s entirely their own, which is a rare commodity even in the underground anymore.
It feels like if you could touch this music you’d get an electric shock.
What’s even better is that despite all this strangeness, it has real songs. Songs that you keep wanting to hear to get the measure of. And that’s a fantastic sign. So too is the surpassing artwork.
A weird and absolutely wonderful mind-melter of an album. Have it.
4.6/5 – Earl Grey ::: 14/04/16