Review: Ebony Tears

Ebony Tears
“Evil As Hell”
(Century Media)

Ebony Tears play speedy Swedish metal with vocals along the lines of Sodom’s Tom Angelripper, rather than out and out death roaring. There is definitely a non-Black Metal Swedish sound emerging with the lineage going back to Entombed, Meshuggah and All Else Failed, and reaching recent fruition in bands like The Haunted, Carnal Forge and even Ebony Tears.  Ebony Tears, who after two previous albums which flirted with marrying Swedish folk music to brutal metal, have opted for a straight out thrash approach to the music. The return of thrash, if one can be so silly to say such a thing, is coming from Sweden where technically proficient musicians must grow on trees. The downside to the focus on technical accuracy (which must be mostly mathematical right brain stuff) is that creative songwriting and emotional reveling (which is mostly left brain activity) gets lost along the way. So, with Ebony Tears one is treated to an intense, super virgin ass-tight musical experience, but gets very little in emotional compensation for the effort exerted in listening. Because it’s important to realize that listening is an effort, and we humans interact with art in the hopes of having profound aesthetic experiences or at least some minor pleasure. And this can be achieved in appreciation of a virtuoso group of metal heads thrashing away in earnest, but doesn’t necessarily lend itself to doing more than eliciting a nod, and a, “A-yup, that’s some good stuff, but can it make me smile, weep, get an erection or bleed?”