Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Obscure Bands: Ensoph

I recently said I never realized how big a fan of gothic metal I apparently am. I have always known, though, that I am a huge fan of industrial metal--at least most of the time.

Enter the Italian group Ensoph, an industrial gothic metal band, with some black metal elements. I currently own two of their albums, their 2004 sophomore release Opus Dementiae and their latest, 2009's Rex Mundi X-ile.

They have a highly unusual sound, so it's very difficult to give you any comparisons to other groups--they could even qualify as avant-garde metal. The music seems to be a backdrop of gothic metal overlaid with a lot of industrial elements, such as synthesizers. Vocally, there are two voices present, a standard goth metal clean vocal style and a strained black metal rasp; I don't know whether it is from one or two vocalists. On the 2004 album, there seems to also be some folk metal (a flute or similar sound) poking in as well.

One common problem with industrial metal is that the metal part of it can be overpowered by the atmospheric elements. This is the case on Opus Dementiae. As a result, the songs come off as unfocused, and can easily lose your attention.

However, on Rex Mundi X-ile, Ensoph seems to have gotten the industrial elements under control, and have written some focused songs which are most definitely metal--a completely unique brand of metal worth checking out for fans of industrial, gothic, avant-garde, or black metal. They also did a very interesting cover of Alice In Chains's "Would?"

The Verdict: They're too unknown to even have a Wikipedia page yet, but because of their unique sound and definite improvement in more recent work, you may be hearing more about them in the future. I give Opus Dementiae 3 of 5 stars, and Rex Mundi X-ile 4 of 5 stars.