ALBUM REVIEW: The Long Dream I (EBONIVORY)
ALBUM The Long Dream I // ARTIST Ebonivory
Come with us now on a journey as Ballarat behemoths Ebonivory transcend the confines of genre and space with their brand new album The Long Dream I ready to electrify the musical realms this Friday June 5th.
Almost five years in the making, the latest opus from Ballarat quintet Ebonivory comes amidst the group's steady ascension through the ranks of the Aussie music world. And while the group's previous releases may have firmly indicated the innovative potential of the group, it's with The Long Dream I that Ebonivory cement their potent melange of prog, metal and alternative rock that shocks with its beauty and shines with its compositional prowess from start to finish. With nourishing menace and pristine grit, The Long Dream I constantly fosters a sense of fermented anticipation as Ebonivory leave you hanging on to every single moment across the space of 13 tracks, while ultimately offering an astonishing glimpse into the outrageously bright future of Australian alternative music.
Kicking off with all of the drama and beauty of an epic video game cut-scene, Introduction introduces The Long Dream I with dense chuggs, glistening piano and whimsical melodies, offering an immersive and extremely polished soundscape that follows throughout the album. From here it's an engaging and passionate adventure, bursting with fresh sonic narratives laden with hooks, heaviness and heavenly melodics.
From the triumphant bounce of Hamner Street to eerie clean tones pearling beneath djenty chugs up next on Persist, the opening full tracks on the album offer contrasting stylistic roots while allowing every instrumental element to crisply shine amidst the magnetic vocals of frontman Charlie Powlett, whose vocals are wholly unique as his Australian tinges mix with a staggering range equally at ease with growls, chest voice and floating into angelic higher registers.
HAMNER STREET (EBONIVORY)
Bringing back the bounce with gusto, Patting the Black Dog bustles in with gauzy synths nestled below a controlled and beautiful palpitations above, as guitarists Jake Ewings and Louis Edwards, bassist Connor McMillan and drummer David Parkes unite in technical bliss that hypes into a gorgeous ambient outo.
While undeniably apt in the heavier genres, Ebonivory are equally gifted with calmer stylings, offering a quiet moment of solitude on Cats as Powlett effortlessly swirls with a raw and stripped back vocal outing amongst spine-tingling backing vocals. And while following track A Colour I'm Blind To brings back the chug, there's still moments of unexpected melodic shifts as the lads oscillate between sparkling instrumental interludes and breathless pauses amidst denser riffage (and the introduction of a continued guitar leitmotif that pops up in later tracks).
Midway through The Long Dream I comes a soft and muddy interlude soaked in reverb (and an electrifying little vocal moment with Powlett's higher registers) with Sea Sons, swirling textures on the poignant In Reverie and the electric exhilarating Window Man that offers a narrative whallop hellbent on self-discovery while deftly flicking between bold and balmy tones.
With the bulk of the remaining album boasting lead singles, it's an assured leap next with the delightfully menaced Explosions After Dark, hulking with woozy melodics drawling over swaying sharp and booming textures. Powlett's grit really comes to its fore with Explosions, with some well-timed dreamy cleans from axe-man Louis Edwards. With its mature, controlled mayhem interspersed with the occasional serene reprieve, this is a track that showcases the varied strings to the Ebonivory bow, and their ability to execute complexity with affability flawlessly.
EXPLOSIONS AFTER DARK (EBONIVORY)
Up next is Tales of Termina, a bouncy bundle of clever hooks sprinkled with the occasional riotous bursts and infectious grooves, with an especially dynamic outing from McMillan. And while it's an obvious flavour seen throughout the album, this track hammers home that Ebonivory are one of the few bands able to inject so much polished jaunt into a alt-metal universe without it feeling gimmicked or forced (and, as always, there's unofficial extra points for a well-timed Zelda reference).
And while we've been privvy to some post-hardcore strokes previously, The Bluegums reaches into some softer strength, with clean and dreamy guitars at times frolicking beneath this raw and passionate tug at the heartstrings. Packing a huge emotional punch with soaring shifts, Powlett's harmonic whimsy and soft ambient interludes (complete with some particularly sparkling drumwork from Parkes), The Bluegums hits at the composed, jazzy charm seen at times with Caligula's Horse, but still bearing that unmistakable Ebonivory flair.
And just how does one close off an album soaked in grit, might and beauty? EnterIntrovection, one of the lead album singles and a track that perfectly culminates the triumphant sonic journey taken throughout The Long Dream I. With sublime riffage and some sizzling solos courtesy of the powerhouse duo of Edwards and Ewings and continued cohesion with repeated melodic sequences peeking beneath the dark and the light, Introvection wholly showcases every ounce Ebonivory have to offer, ending with particularly riveting style.
Self-produced by the band and mastered by the legendary Forrester Savell (Karnivool), The Long Dream I may sit as a planned first-half to a two-part concept album, but it adequately stands tall as a pinnacle of possibility in the progressive and larger heaviere genres. With this album, Ebonivory emerge as the definitive sound of the future of Aussie alternative music, both in the prog realms and beyond; considered, complex yet remarkably approachable, with an undeniable Australian tinge proudly threading throughout. It may only be June, but with The Long Dream I the search may very well be off for album of the year, and it's only a matter of time before the rest of the world cottons on to Australia's best-kept heavy secret.
EBONIVORY'S BRAND NEW ALBUM THE LONG DREAM I IS DUE OUT THIS FRIDAY 5TH JUNE VIA WILD THING RECORDS. FOR PRE-ORDERS HEAD HERE, AND FOR ALL OTHER EBONIVORY INFO, HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER