One shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Forming preconceived opinions regarding any artform is always a mistake. Everything is Temporary Except Suffering, the major label debut from Ether Coven, is certainly no exception to this. The group in question is helmed by Pete Kowalsky of metalcore act Remembering Never. Ether Coven harnesses a sound that fuses metalcore, doom, sludge, and progressive elements. Truth be told, the end result is almost exactly what one would expect this concoction to sound like. Despite this, typical conventions aren't something the group chooses to adhere to.
The musical stylings of hardcore and doom are perfectly suited to complement one another. Both share a predilection for crushing riffs and pummelling audiences into submission with both brutality and volume. Bands such as Converge have fused multiple musical styles with hardcore for years. They've pushed the genre's limitations as to what can be accomplished. Ether Coven attempt this same task. Guttural vocals are fused with progressive elements and sludge riffs. As a band, they certainly bring an impressive looking hand to the table.
The album begins with the eleven-minute opener, "The House is a Tomb of Memories." It certainly confirms most expectations one might have before a first time listen. It has the pace of a doom song, yet it's fueled by the angst that's present in hardcore and punk. The slow pace of the song coincides with the brooding atmosphere found within the composition. The lyric of "I am not the burden, the burden lives in me" establishes themes of isolation and despair. Both of which permeates the album.
"As the Noose of the Ever-Changing World Tightens Around Your Neck" is impressive in its intricacy. Spanning over 11 minutes in length, the complexity will certainly appeal to fans of Between The Buried And Me and Dillenger Escape Plan. Ether Coven are shattering some of the stereotypes that have dogged metalcore throughout the years. While the lyrical content isn't exquisite or sharp with articulation, it breaks away from the typical tough-guy posturing that's always been synonymous with the genre.
Notable Doom acts such as Esoteric, Candlemass, Cathedral, and Electric Wizard have all demonstrated the ability to build sonic landscapes with their music. Ether Coven show signs of development in this field. Acoustic songs such as "House of Strangers" and "The Burden of Loss" depict feelings of sorrow and grief. They also serve as perfect interludes to create a separation between the lengthier songs on the album.
As the title might suggest-Everything is Temporary Except Suffering appears to be a transitory period for Ether Coven. While a great deal of the material caters to typical expectations for a release of this nature, there's much more. Ether Coven are making music that defies convention and elevates the album apart from so many others in a subgenre that thrives on repetition. Ether Coven might not be the second coining of Converge. That being said, they're certainly well on the way to establishing themselves a band that's worth paying attention to.