Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Somewhere along the way, black metal bands specifically dealing with space became a thing. I suppose it must have started with Darkspace, but there seems to be a lot more these days: Mare Cognitum, Spectral Lore, Moon, and of course Ecferus. This is their second album, Pangaea. I really enjoyed their first album, Prehistory, for its spacey atmosphere and its cold production values. This time, however, I feel that Ecferus has bumped up the production values a bit more, and it has resulted in an altogether more aggressive sound on Pangaea.
As soon as jump into Pangaea’s first song, Creation of a Planet, you can hear that the guitars and drums are much clearer. We start with a riff that is full of tremolo reminiscent of Mare Cognitum’s approach, and it sounds great. This time around, the drummer (i.e. Alp, the solo member of Ecferus) sounds much more confident and inserts themselves more actively into the song. This is definitely one of the reasons why I think it sounds more aggressive; more insistent drumming leads to a more chaotic and fast sound. When the vocals come in, there is also a definite difference. They are still quite buried in the back, still not very loud, but at the same time, they once again sound clearer. There was a murkiness to Prehistory that isn’t here. Not only that, but the vocals also sound way more extreme. The length and intensity of the screams adds these little chilling moments that are great. In fact, you only need to listen to the hypnotizing guitar riff in the last twenty seconds of Creation of a Planet to hear that this album is much more intense.
Something new that has also been added is the presence of intro, interlude, and outro tracks. Prehistory was four lengthy slabs of spacey black metal and nothing more. Pangaea is also four lengthy slabs of spacey black metal, but they’ve been broken up by these short pieces. Personally, I think it was a wise decision from Ecferus. Like I said, this album is more intense; these shorter tracks are purely ambient spacescapes, and they help tie this album with the previous one in terms of atmosphere. With the inclusion of the additional tracks, Pangaea is slightly longer than Prehistory, but it still clocks in just under 40 minutes, making it a nice bite-size album. I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes having a shorter album dealing with subject-matter that normally calls for megalith albums is a nice breather.
I would like to point out that while there are differences to the production and musical approach, Ecferus still sounds like themselves, and I would be loath to say which style I enjoy more. Both Prehistory and Pangaea are amazing albums. Prehistory might be a bit more ambient, a bit more spacey, but Pangaea is filled with some killer riffs and really awesome moments. Pangaea sounds like the band is much more confident with their instrumental chops and wanted to show that off, and the album really does sound great. Now from the next album, I want to hear the two sounds perfectly mixed, with that ambient darkness in full force, but paired with really intense songs and guitar solos. That would be amazing!
Get it on Bandcamp: https://ecferus.bandcamp.com/album/pangaea