THE DEMO CORNER
Lately, the state of Oregon has become a doom metal hotbed, with bands such as Yob, Rabbits, and Witch Mountain gaining some level of recognition, and that’s not even counting Agalloch, whose style of music is great no matter what it’s being labeled. So, it comes as no surprise that there are many Oregon bands who want in on the success. One band who is hoping to capitalize is Echtra. His style of drone doom has been realized with his second album Paragate, which like many groups similar to him, require a lot of patience and good attention spans.
On Paragate, Echtra plays a rather simple, yet repetitive kind of drone doom that is absent of vocals and relies on the slowness of its rhythm to create an atmosphere. If complexity and variety are things you look for on an album, it would be best to stay away from Paragate, and Echtra offers neither. The slow, distorted guitars are mixed with some folk sounding melodic parts, though those parts are a little much on the soft side and aren’t too noticeable on the surface. Drumming on the album is mostly nonexistent in the sense that it’s there to keep rhythm and nothing else. The dark atmosphere on the album figures prominently, since Echtra is also in the black metal band Fauna, and hints of Fauna are found on “Paragate II,” as it shows some black metal influences. The album is consistent in that its atmosphere remains the same from beginning to end, and it offers a lost in the forest feel to it. Oustide of low, chant-like sounds on “Paragate I,” there are no vocals to speak of, which is fine for an album that prefers to let its music speak for itself. Non-doom metal fans will likely find nothing to like about Paragate though, as it just doesn’t stray from its own conventions.
Echtra can best be described as an abstract painting in that the music he plays is open to interpretation. Paragate is proof of this comparison, as anything can be taken from the music. Where you stand as far as the doom metal genre goes is likely going to determine how well (or not) the listener enjoys Echtra. I’ll give Paragate 2.5 stars, but like the album, it’s subject to open interpretation, particularly on specific days when elements call for the album to be played.
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1. Paragate I
2. Paragate II
Total playing time: 46:00
Release Date: March 31, 2011
Label: Temple of Torturous Records
Echtra - Paragate
April 12, 2011