Howls of Ebb – The Marrow Veil

It’s quite likely, if you’re reading this or have been here before, that you’re a weirdo.  That’s how people usually end up at Deaf Sparrow, or at least checking out the things we cover, whether or not they pay attention to us in particular.  The underground is filled with total weirdos, people on the outskirts of society who through a long process have been slowly abandoned by the world and created their own, typically filled with things of the weird.  Way past the normal weird, to the realm of absolute weirdness that wouldn’t make sense to the usual weirdo.  When you develop that kind of mentality, it’s easier to pick out the real crowning weird glories of the scene, the things that bulge out of the bulk like an infected eyeball.  The weird is good, the weird is king, and an excellent starting point for discovering an aesthetic.  But there’s danger in them thar weird.  When you live the weird life, when you consume all things obscure, sometimes it’s easy to forget it has its own limits.


Howls of Ebb are quite new to the metal scene, and the weird, having formed around 2012 with only two albums to their name by 2015, including this one here, The Marrow Veil.  But they’ve already received attention from several important avenues, including Sputnik, and another site we despise so we’ll only mention them indirectly.  The major reason for this popularity surge is, of course, their approach, which their first album Vigils of the 3rd Eye made incredibly clear; it’s totally weird.  It stood out immediately because of their bizarre writing style, which often features sudden cuts in tempo and abrupt shifts in general sound. Such approaches typically appear as though ready to claw through your sense of stability, but wait. Wait a minute now…if you look at their name again, there’s something that’s not weird, but plain old silly.  There are howls, yes, we love howls, horrible howls of agony. But, further they are of the ebb.  Huh?  See it sounds like it means something when you first hear it, but it’s merely hiding behind this assumption.  How exactly can the movement of the tides (ebb) howl exactly?  Did you consider the meaning? It’s starting to sound like you simply put some things together and forgot to consider what you were actually doing, which brings us to their recent work, that also assumes without defining.


The Marrow Veil really has the artwork thing going on, in fact the imagery alone is what led us to pick it out of the swamp of promos sitting around.  “This just has to be next-level weirdo,” we said to ourselves in our pit of weird.  And this is what most critics have babbled.  They’ve praised the otherworldly quality, lauded the glorious confrontation of style, and at times deemed Howls of Ebb the next dark thing in all that is weird, the new tyrants of the strange.  We, however, have a much different opinion.  The Marrow Veil is entirely convoluted and overly disruptive without purpose.  There are a few excellent passages in the entirety, such as shrieks that freeze the blood and riffs that churn the bile, but taken in totality it’s too confused with itself. They shift from ambience to aggression, but even then to further differentiate themselves they made a simple section for slam something so far removed it’s alien even to itself.  How about we toss some acoustics over that double-kick run, hmm?  You know what, let’s also make it sound similar to the opening theme for The Munsters, what say?  Further, lads, why don’t we toss a needless solo over that aggressive section that sounds circa 1983?  Howls of Ebb is trying too hard to be different, they’re trying to break new ground in so many different places the foundation cracks, causing the entire structure of The Marrow Veil to nearly collapse other than a few key moments.  When it wants to sound terrifying, like some sort of sexual black mass orchestrated by the adulterous, it instead sounds like a group of overweight soccer moms and dads cuddling their toddlers on a Haunted Hayride.  The spookiness is almost laughable at times, embarrassing at others.  Gawd, we better turn this off before someone hears…  Howls of Ebb lack the power of other groups, such as Autokrator, who we recently reviewed, and if they’re going for bizarre and terrifying, they might want to check out bands like Chaos Echoes, who we also recently reviewed.  For all their attempts to confront and redefine, Howls of Ebb spend way too much time trying and less time doing.


Howls of Ebb Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Howls of Ebb: The Marrow Veil
I, Voidhanger Records
1.8 / 5