Words by Carly Gibbs
After a massive 2019 for Ebonivory, the boys from Ballarat are about to gift us with their highly anticipated, first part of a two-part concept album, ‘The Long Dream I’. Last year saw them bag a coveted spot on the acclaimed Progfest bill, tour alongside progressive titans Circles and support alt-rock heavyweights Dead letter Circus. 2020 was shaping up to be another massive year but then that dauntless d*ckhead, Covid-19, turned up uninvited and threw a spanner in our live music works (amidst much worse outcomes, of course). This hasn’t dampened their momentum though, gaining a legion of dedicated and besotted fans who will, no doubt, go ape for ‘The Long Dream I.’
Ebonivory have been drip feeding us little proggy babies (which sounds a lot stranger than it actually is) for a little while now in the lead up to this release so you might already be familiar with quite a few tracks on this album. But at thirteen tracks long there is still a heap of new material to sink your teeth into. It’s actually a really comforting feeling to have some songs that you already know and can sing along with between the new tracks. It breaks it up and isn’t as hard to digest thirteen behemoth songs all at once. Because they are seriously massive tracks!
The album opens with an instrumental introduction track, funnily enough, named Introduction that feels like it could easily be part of a film score. It has this grandness that makes you feel like something amazing is about to happen. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with menacing overtones in the beginning which dissipate into twinkling keys and then build back into another crescendo before once again calming the storm to lead into the next track. And this is all just in the introduction that is a total of one minute and forty-three seconds. We are in for a whole lot of inventiveness and unrestraint over the next 12 songs.
Hammer Street follows on from the calm that we heard at the end of the intro but doesn’t dally there for too long. The track takes off and it’s clear how strong and polished Charlie Powlett’s voice is. The bottom end of Connor McMillan’s bass and David Parkes drums give the track a bit of grittiness and darkness and doesn’t leave it feeling too ‘nice’ which I think it definitely needs and they’ve found a really perfect balance here.
Ahh, Persist. I LOVE this song. it’s just so goddam catchy and has been a part of my ‘Car belters’ playlist that is reserved purely for me to scream off key at the top of my lungs with no one around for a little while now. It is powerful and has this theatrical quality to it without it being cheesy. Spotify added Persist to one of their Discovery playlists which has seen this track clock nearly 300,000 plays. If you have heard of Ebonivory, you have most certainly heard this track and if not, honestly, what have you been doing?!
Patting the Black Dog is huge with heavy growls that are juxtaposed with dreamy, chiming soundscapes and feather light nuances. There is power, technicality and brute intermingled with a gentleness that makes this a standout track.
It’s followed by Cats which kicks off a little mellow lull to the album, a lull in tempo but certainly not in quality, and showcases the emotive nature of the band. A Colour I’m Blind Too flows on from this. It was originally released in 2017 so it may be an old favourite for some. Deftones feel like they are being channelled at the beginning of Sea Sons but that doesn’t last for long as Charlie’s Aussie accent shines through into this melancholic daydream, which is the perfect headspace to be in for the beginning of In Reverie. It too, starts off slow and steady but builds power towards the end bringing the energy back for Window Man.
As much as I’ve enjoyed the last couple of slower cuts, I am more than excited to hear it take a turn into harder territory again with Explosions After Dark. To me, when they shine is when they showcase their diversity and gradations between dark and light as well as their ingenuity and this is a perfect, complex example. Charlie’s vocals go from deep growls to higher, impassioned states and it feels full of conviction and emotion. The track is really interesting and extremely well thought out. Second favourite on the album for me!
Tales of Termina is a very close third favourite. Like I mean very close, as close as two coats of paint, close. It boasts another super hooky, anthemic chorus with a shit ton of bounce to it. The idea behind the video for Tales of Termina (which you can see below) is the monotony of daily life and the cycle of repetition that we are all stuck in to some degree. It’s an absolute banger of a song. One to throw your back out to down the front in the pit…..or just jump about without the threat of hurting yourself, if you aren’t as unfit as me.
The Bluegums tells a tale of heartbreak and anyone who’s experienced a tumultuous relationship or breakup will resonate with this track. “You were so obsessed with broken things that you saw fit to break me.”
We are at the last stop on this winding and scenic journey, ‘The long Dream I’. Going out on a high note is an understatement when talking about closing track Introvection. Another representation of just how brilliant this band is.
Truth be told, I would normally gravitate to the heavier side of the prog spectrum but I was swiftly and easily drawn into Ebonivory. They are technical, unique, engaging, creative and impactful and it would be seriously remiss of you not to give this a listen through from start to finish more than a few times. This album feels so cohesive and you’ll love these guys if you are a fan of Caligula’s Horse, Between the Buried and Me or Periphery and probably even if you’re not. I’m a convert and I couldn’t be happier about it! Really looking forward to part two of ‘The Long Dream’. It’s out on the 5th of June via Wild Thing Records and you can pre-order here – https://smarturl.it/thelongdreamI
Ebonivory are –
Charlie Powlett (Vocals)
Jake Ewings (guitar)
Louis Edwards (guitar, backing vocals)
Connor McMillan (bass, backing vocals)
David Parkes (drums, percussion)
With thanks to Maric Media