Ether Feather’s newest album Devil Shadowless Hand is undeniably heavy. That heaviness is often times all encompassing and steady to the point where it becomes monotonous and tiring to listen too. The steady drone is mixed with a variety of different influences that do little to enhance the enjoyment. The psychedelic influence leads to drawing out the songs and only serves to drag on the monotony. Ether Feather changes up the pace with blues inspired guitar riffs, funky basslines, and unique beats, but these only makes the album feel more disjointed and confusing.
It’s clear that Ether Feather is talented from the variety of influences and styles that they bring into their newest album. Bluesy guitar solos with string bends and intriguing fret work, reminiscent of southern rock, are played alongside drawn out psychedelic rock grooves and funk inspired basslines. While all good on their own, when put together with the droning undertones of metal, the result is overwhelming. It becomes a sonic tsunami that feels as though it is pounding you down and will bury you at any moment.
In talking about Devil Shadowless Hands in generalizations, it’s easy to overlook some of the variation in the different songs. Each section emphasizes different aspects of the album’s sound. Though it makes for a disjointed listen, the segmented nature of the album isn’t all bad. It certainly makes it impossible to write the entire album off since there’s probably a place in their sound that will appeal to you.
The beginning tracks, especially “Falconer” and “Interstellar,” play heavily into the psychedelic metal sound to the point of being unoriginal. Through drawn out vocals and an elongated guitar sound, songs like these are slow moving and awkwardly familiar. Other songs have a much more groovy, funk-inspired bassline that although makes for a more interesting listen, ultimately sounds awkward when listening all the way through. When the different influences and sounds do come together, Devil Shadowless Hand shows that Ether Feather can deliver solid tracks.In songs like “Your Half in the Middle,” there is a bounce in the beat that is able to cut through the familiar drone and carry you through the song. It is a shame that the album does not hit the mark more often.
Besides compressing so many styles, the sound seems to be off on several of the songs. The recordings seem distant in a way that is not lo-fi but doesn’t seem to capture the power of the sound. Listening to the album feels like you are too far away from the source of the sound to get a true sense of the music. The distance serves only to undercut any connection to the album you might make.
Despite its flaws, Devil Shadowless Hand has moments where all the styles come together and shine. These moments just come too far apart for a satisfying listen.