El-Ahrairah- “El-Ahrairah”


Black Metal & Brews has been relatively inactive for the last number of months, through no fault other than my own inability to balance life and my own desire to continually improve the quality of my writing. I received a copy of El-Ahrairah’s self-titled cassette from Underground Soundscapes some months ago and was instantly hypnotized, yet found myself lacking the proper words. How many times can I describe heavy metal albums without eventually regurgitating the same stream of words? The artists have passion, drive, and spirit. Surely the ways in which I discuss the music that moves me should carry equal weight. This seems as though it would be easy, yet I’m rather easily inspired by music. Some folks find their one or two albums a month and cling to them. I am in a near-constant state of awe at the talent and beauty in the world of extreme and often unexplored music. I humbly offer my words to you in the hopes that you can make a decision for yourselves.

Sharing its name with a character from Watership Down, El-Ahrairah creates a raucous, fiery type of metal that is held firmly in place by a punk-infused backbeat at almost all times. Over sparser rhythm, the band focuses on melody and emotion in place of aggression, yet this is far from pretty or safe. Vocals are consistently howled and roared, and while harmonium and piano are present in the instrumentation, they do not dominate the sound, instead serving as accents like in the haunting “Drown Alone.” It’s the harmony of elements that really makes this raw album feel more present and manageable than it otherwise would. The production is intentionally hazy, yet nothing is indiscernible. What we see on El-Ahrairah is a band focused on a completeness of sound rather than on having a single moment of glory here and there, although the climax of “Rind of the Earth” serves as a perfect piece of closure to an album of tense energy. There’s no one song with a standout riff or melody, yet there’s no filler. Instead, from start to finish, there’s a beauty and fury that constantly battle between themselves, with true victory belonging to the fortunate listener.

This tape appears to be long sold out, but you can download it for the price you see fit to support the band directly. If physical stuff is an absolute must for you, keep an eye on discogs.