Ephel Duath

The Painter's Palette

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Not since Faith No More's post-Epic albums, when they had the label clout and studio time to explore their kinks in detail, has there been a metal-based album as flat-out weird as Ephel Duath's Painter's Palette. An artsy (sorry) concept album where every song is subtitled after a different pigment, Painter's Palette welds whiplash hardcore-metal (yes, some songs have the Muppets' vocals, but lead singer Davide Tolomei more often favors a much more melodic, '70s-rock style similar to John Wetton during his King Crimson days) with the trickiest aspects of jazz fusion (unusual chord progressions, abrupt time signature shifts, melodies that take completely unexpected left turns and then get lost trying to find their way back), along with bits of post-rock, hip-hop, and even a bit of classical-style guitar. It sounds on paper like it could be a pretentious mess, but the combination is delivered with such power and ferocity that it works. In some ways, Ephel Duath looks back to the days of PFM and Acqua Fragile, the last time when Italian prog rock was so interesting.

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