Hungarian based musician, Ephilexia, brings us their latest release from a string of solo albums known as Skeleton War. This is a heavily bass driven math-rock album with heavy emphasis on atmosphere and progressive build ups. You may have come across their bass playing with Silent Island, a post-rock project as well as their take on atmospheric black metal with their other act Realm of Wolves. While Ephilexia’s solo releases are somewhat similar to those other projects mentioned, there’s a personal touch to these albums that I find rather charming and pleasant to listen to.
With this release in particular, there’s a lot to like, but there’s also moments where the tracks almost feel half complete. Many of the tracks have this progressive build up in the instrumentation and sometimes feel complete and have this satisfying crescendo, but there’s other tracks that have this drop off after the build up that just doesn’t sit right with me personally. The one track that sticks out in my mind is the fifth track Mauled By A Dead Horse. There’s plenty of progression and a great build up with the guitars, drums, and bass all in one, but right when you think it’s about to get loud and heavy, it takes it all away after a brief, twinkly guitar passage, to only go back to the same drum, bass, guitar pattern. Its not bad to listen to at all, but sorta took me out of it personally, and thought it could’ve been much more. Maybe this is what they were trying to go for with this album, a more stripped back approach, as when compared to previous releases, there’s a bit more of a heavier side that is expressed that I think is really missed here.
There’s really no denying the talent Ephilexia has. The performance on the album its self is phenomenal. Great, chunky bass riffs that stand on their own, the guitars, as mentioned before, play more of a supporting role to let the bass take center stage. Personally, all of the bass riffs have been my favorite parts of the album. Each track is different yet still carry that same nostalgic sound, and I feel really strike a balance between keeping that rhythm going while still building a melody out of the big sounds. The production is clean and airy, really emphasizing the immersive atmosphere the album builds. All in all there’s this nostalgic atmosphere that takes hold of the listener and really drives home this somber yet hopeful touch of emotion.
I went down a rabbit hole with Ephilexia’s releases, even the side projects, Chainsaw For Birthday and This Wind Brought Fire which all share similar characteristics but all have their own sorta take on this style of music that was nice to explore again personally. While, I wouldn’t say Skeleton War is the strongest release from Ephilexia, it’s still worth a listen and at the very least, to check out previous works and other projects as there’s a little bit of something for everyone.