Review: “Between the Glimpses of Hope” by Ephemerald

Forged in the fire and ice of Jyväskylä, Finland in 2016 by guitarist Joni Snoro (ex-Frosttide), bassist Lauri Myllylä (Voidfallen), vocalist Vesa Salovaara (Vorna) and drummer Juho Suomi (Apocryfal) in the hopes of creating epic Symphonic Death Metal before they joined forces with Tuomo Sagulin (Mechanik Project) who added keyboards and orchestration, Ephemerald being the name they have chosen for the purpose. Interestingly, Ephemerality is the concept of things being transitory, existing only briefly, often in the moment and is used to describe things in nature, which has a lyrical tie in to the album itself, which has over arching themes of countless new beginnings, breaking the chains of the past in seeking a brighter tomorrow…

…The Orchestrations add a cinematic quality to the sound Ephemerald create and from the start of “Grand Creation“, it is clear that everything has been given a slick production value and a high quality mix that allows every element to shine. The brutal vocals of Salovaara take flesh from bone at thirty paces however the presence of a pair of soaring clean vocal parts are the last thing you’d expect given the fiery start to the track. Fortunately the band don’t compromise their approach to the music to allow for that so those clean vocal parts become additions rather than subtractions. “I Bear Fire” keeps up the high energy and pulverizing rhythmic battery with some of the synth work reminiscent of Alana Potocnik on “The Great Stone War” by Winds of Plague, something that runs through the album as a whole. Adding a blistering solo and showing some Folk Metal influences during the finale add another dimension that gives a sense of intrigue as to where Ephemerald could go as a band. Diving head long back into their heavier side with the rampaging “Servant” that has some Black Metal moments of throat shredding screams and blast beats is simply brilliant while the light and shade contrast with the bleak clean vocal moments give a play on the theme, all delivered at the breakneck speed of an all action car chase through city streets at night.

The long icy introduction to “Lost” provides a moment of calm clarity that allows the heavier moments to breathe without the constant bludgeoning that can be a little bit overwhelming on other records. That icy quality remains, buried underneath a wall of lightning riffs as Salovaara tells a mournful tale of misery. There are moments where the drums of Suomi sound like they’re being played in the Royal Albert Hall, they sound huge and everything sounds clean and crisp with that aforementioned mix. In the first half of the album there are moments that indicate that there could be a more melodic track on “Between Glimpses of Hope” and that comes with “All There Is“, a Finnish Folk Metal inspired piece, with clean vocals and acoustic guitars in the first half that builds into an arena filling finale of Metallic edged riffs and big synths. It’s one that may divide some fans before they’ve heard the latter part, but after a few spins becomes something that grows on you as a listener. “Reborn” then kicks up the dust, rising from the grave with an energy and higher tempo while finding a half way house that sees a greater amount of clean vocal parts against the backdrop of the onslaught of the riffs, aiding the balance and flow of the record as a whole after the previous melodies, a gentle slope to heavier sounds rather than the instant knuckleduster punch in the face approach some other bands have when they snap back into the fury.

Released as the second single from the album 10 weeks before its release was “No Fall Is Too Deep” and why it was chosen for that purpose becomes clear when you listen to it in the context of the album. It has captures the overall sounds that Ephemerald have looked to create within the confines of a single track with a mournful melancholic quality to the clean vocal parts that gives a beauty and the beast contrast to the ear splitting uncleans, very much the angel and the devil on the shoulders of Salovaara as he delivers his finest vocal performance of the record. Staccato riffs at the start of “Till the Sea Swallows Us Whole” that are accompanied by gang chants give a sense that Ephemerald could turn their hands to Symphonic Deathcore if they so desired before they turn the sands of time the other way and give us something that could be from one of a number of heavier Power Metal bands. The virtuoso solo from Snoro is a shinning light in the darkness as he takes a moment away from his unrelenting rhythmic work to deliver something special and his swaying lead parts here are so impressive that the band will need to get a second guitarist on board to give this the justice it needs in the live arena. “Into the Endless” rounds off “Between the Glimpses of Hope” with a science fiction film quality to it from the synths and the dark atmosphere of being dragged kicking and screaming into a black hole, the harsh spoken word passage adding a new and previously unexplored element which works well. Hopefully there is more to come from Ephemerald and this is not a single record as their name perhaps suggests [8/10]

Track listing

1. Grand Creation
2. I Bear Fire
3. Servant
4. Lost
5. All There Is
6. Reborn
7. No Fall Is Too Deep
8. Till the Sea Swallows Us Whole
9. Into the Endless

Between the Glimpses of Hope” by Ephemerald is out 19th February via Inverse Records and is available over at bandcamp

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