Released: 2017, Dead Truth Recordings
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
One of the best acts to come out of the South Florida metal scene in recent years, Ft. Lauderdale’s Ether continue to combine decimation and desolation on their sophomore full length THERE IS NOTHING LEFT FOR ME HERE. To label Ether a sludge metal band would be directionally accurate but still missing the target; think early Crowbar by way of latter day Neurosis, while tripping to some of the shoegaze noise you’d find on The Flenser roster. The new tunes reflect maturation in the both songwriting and execution, but retain the throttling heaviness of their 2013 HUMAN ERROR debut.
Out of the gate, the opening “For Every Nail a Noose” throws down the gauntlet with equal parts sluggish, stomping abrasiveness and painfully raw emotion. Like a kind of unchecked psychosis, the song breaks from shouts and cinderblock heavy riffage into lingering introspection, complete with accompanying violin strains and bellowed layers of clean vocals, eventually returning to the unrelenting, punctuated fists to your earholes. Speaking of clean vocals, the band has employed them in the past, but they’ve really got an elevated role across TINLFMH, acting almost like another instrument on tracks like “Inextricably Bound by the Absence of a Ring.”
“We are the Empty Vessel Where Life Used to Grow” is one of the more concise and straightforward track on the album, but roars like a wounded animal caught in a trap, fully aware of its impending demise. “No Gods, All Masters” sounds like My Dying Bride by way of NOLA with the violin again on center stage, and the epic “Ave Maria of the Lice, of the Snakes, of the Worms” aches with resonating passages of open space and discomforting toy pianos, occasionally transforming itself into some kind of musical Wendigo. As you progress through TINLFMH, you’re consistently challenged with new levels of melancholy, each one being more beautifully spirit crushing than the next.
Written during a bout of personal turmoil, THERE IS NOTHING LEFT FOR ME HERE is a sort of shared musical catharsis; it’s an experience unto itself, and you’re stronger for it on the other side. At the time that I’m writing this, Ether just wrapped a successful summer tour that saw them devastating markets across the East Coast and then some (they’re even more powerful live), and the album is already getting some good press. Yes - Florida has issues with meth, politics, bath salts, and alligators, but our metal scene is f@#king legit, and right now Ether is leading that scene with THERE IS NOTHING LEFT FOR ME HERE. Doom fans need to pay attention and check this out.