Formed of a quartet of international musicians, Kraków Poland based Progressive Death Metal outfit Ekoa began their ascention to Metal enlightenment in when they formed in 2020, blending with it elements of Metalcore and Groove Metal to formulate their own unique flavour. Aurélien Thomas (bass, vocals), Sergio Barbero (drums), Paweł Staszewski (lead guitar) and Kamil Kowalczyk (rhythm guitar) have wasted little time and already have a full length debut album in the works for Autumn to follow up this debut EP, adorned by cover artwork from Paweł Staszewski and Michał “Xaay” Loranc (God Dethroned, Kamelot, Nile)…
Make no mistake, this is the kind of debut record of which dreams are made, the mixing and mastering is superbly done, giving the drum sound in particular it’s rightful place with a clean and crisp edge. There is nothing rough band ready or DIY about this, it’s as polished a piece of work as could find for the want of looking. The band use clean and unclean vocal layering to intertwine the parts like a twisted vine, which gives the impression of there being more than one vocalist as “Rooted Into Grudge” plays out. That is in part at least thanks to there being two distinctly separate voicings from Aurélien Thomas, a frontman who wins you over easily with his split personality that give beauty to the melodic moments and a real darkness to the heavier ones. While the opening cut isn’t progressive in the sense of there being extended chords or notes before the turn around, it is a clear extension of Death Metal that counterbalances melody and aggression perfectly upon the scales of justice in elegant fashion. The acoustic closing passage is that moment of clarity before they go again with “The Stoic“, a cut which continues that vocal styling which suggests that the band will need to pick someone else within the group to handle some of the vocal parts when they take to the stage, the growled uncleans coupled with the crunchier rhythmic prowess sounding like it was inspired by “Like Light To Flies” from Trivium. Again there is balance in what Ekoa do, the melodic drops allowing the rise back to hit harder while the lead moments on this one are classy and well thought out. “Delegation of Thoughts” was chosen for the full music video treatment and it’s clear why as some of the delicate moments the other songs have aren’t in play here giving it a more straight up feel. The face melting solo is a slick masterstroke but it’s the headbangable main riff that makes it stand out from the pack. By the time “Chimera” rolls around, the melodic backing vocals have taken on the feel that you find in a Earthtone9 song, the huge drum sound rasing the stakes that much further and you just can’t help but wonder what is in store with their debut album [8/10]
Rooted Into Grudge
Delegation of Thoughts
“Chrysalis” by Ekoa is out now and available over at bandcamp.