The Metal-scene has been plagued with too numerous Swedish Metal-acts for a long time now. For some, it's a blessing to be infected with so many bands to choose from even though the subtleties are often negligible while, for others, the effect is the opposite and choking beneath the waves of MeloDeath-bands is the only result of the overpopulated sub-genre. Fortunately, there are bands that don't really care what the current trend is all about and simply stick to making great music. I'm happy to report that once again, EBONY TEARS has delivered yet another excellent record and its distinction from the other clones is only more present this time around!
Whether you belong to the first or the second category I mentioned earlier doesn't really matter when it comes to "A Handful Of Nothing". Sure, you will still find a bit of the original Gothenburg-ish influence on this record, but the formula isn't the same as with "Tortura Insomniae". Some might say it's a darker side of EBONY TEARS that is displayed on this CD, I just think they have unleashed their inner turmoils and spit it out on their instruments and there you go, you've got something much heavier and downright brutal, something more along the lines of Thrash than Melodic Death. Don't worry, though, the savage beauty remains only it's expressed in a harsher way. This album could be summed up using one word: momentum. Once you've popped this razor-sharp piece of raw Metal into your CD-player, there's no stopping it until it's done.
How ironic that on "A Handful Of Nothing", EBONY TEARS has left behind just about every single elements that made them so "unique" and yet has managed to stay fresh and on the cutting edge of extreme Metal while STILL maintaining a sound of their own. Let me explain. All the sumptuous violin parts have been removed [except for "Erised" which is a violin-only moody instrumental that sounds like the soundtrack for a suicide] from the music - WHY? To me, one of the greatest moments in Metal-history was captured on "Moonlight" as violins and guitars danced side by side on a song of nightly beauty. Why the FUCK have the violins been abolished? As if it wasn't enough, those magnificent [though a bit suffocating] female vocals found on the first record have been trashed as well. And finally, last but not least, Johnny Wranning has decided to keep his growls on the same blackish tone throughout the record, with really not much variation at all [as opposed to the palette he has managed to extend over "Tortura Insomniae"].
Nonetheless, this second release is nothing less than grandiose. With tracks like "A Handful Of Nothing" offering so much intensity and emotion channelled through the straining vocal cords of M. Wranning or "The End" with its sad yet hopeful chorus, this record should reassure Metalheads everywhere that there is still some originality left in this world.
EBONY TEARS deserves recognition, perhaps one day their success will see the light of day.