Release: July 19, 2019
Formed in 2014, E-an-na combines the classical folk metal approach with traditional Romanian elements and sequences of modern metal.
Sounding fresh and innovative, the first singles released were very well received by the audience and the band won Best Metal Newcomer (2nd place) at Metalhead Awards 2015. After the release of their debut EP “Jiana” in September 2016, the band toured Romania a few times and Europe (along with Niburta and Netherfell), and won 2nd place at Wacken Metal Battle 2017. On July 19, the band will release their highly anticipated full length debut album titled “Nesfârşite” (“Endless”) via SoundAge Productions.
The concept ‘e-an-na’ represents a metaphysical world, where the universal laws do not apply, it’s a world forged for those who want to depart from this world and focus on the things that really matter, and follow their own path without being distracted by meaningless things.
Fiecare gest al nostru
Izbândă şi a râvni
The blend of bagpipes, accordion, violin, flute and other traditional instrumentals with modern metal and some rather uncommon musical choices lead E-an-na to have a unique sound on the metal scene. With each new release the band strays further from the conventions of folk metal, trying to bring something new and fresh to the genre. Though not as straightforward and cohesive as their debut EP “Jiana” (2016), but packing the same punch and energy, this album is a multi-faceted beast that aims at displaying both their heavy side as well as their playful side. In a way I could compare it to Eluveitie’s “Ategnatos” in terms of diversity, as “Nesfârşite” bounces back and forth between death metal-like heavy passages, complete with blood-curdling screams and deep growls, to breezy, mostly flute-driven interludes and folky moments, still managing to sound somewhat connected.
On the really heavy and dark side of things, opener “Viu” and follow-up track “Aer” have Romanian folk lines intertwined with hefty riffs, pounding drums and Andrei Oltean’s signature screams. There’s a nice piano line in “Aer” that almost carries into the next track, the intense interlude “Fiecare gest al nostru”, where you can hear one of the most creative and original musicians in Romania, Robert Cotoros (The Bipolar Disorder Project, ex-Hteththemeth). But for me the essence of E-an-na is “Epitaf”, it has all the trademark elements on full display, from the fury of Ovidiu Ban’s guitars and Paul Bucătaru’s drums, to deep lyrics, to incredible vocals and all around great songwriting. “Frica” and “Zadar” follow on the same heavy and dark path, with some nice keyboard moments from Ioana Popescu and an urgent feel brought by the guitars and drums. Daniel Neagoe (Clouds, Eye of Solitude, Shape of Despair and Aeonian Sorrow) brings a healthy dose of sorrowfulness and darkness to both “Zadar” and closing epic track “Mashiara” with his low vocals, which blend quite well with the powerful backing instrumental and Andrei’s screams and growls.
On the other hand, we have such fun cuts as “Pielea” where the folk element is more front and centered with Roxana Amărandi’s vocals as the driving force of the music, and the instrumental “Pânda”, parts of which remind me of Emir Kusturica’s music. “Izbândă şi a râvni” is a rather catchy tune with a very headbang-ish rhythm to it while “iO.ta” has a nice flute melody, which is accompanied by bursting guitars and a powerful bass line from Dragoş Geomolean. “În frânt” features both the earthly tones of the hurdy gurdy courtesy of Eluveitie’s Michalina Malisz as well as the cristaline vocals of Archy Jay, which gives the track a certain orinetal vibe, but it never seems to go to far in either direction, though I like the middle part. It is between these tracks where the band’s uncommon musical (and, in some cases, lyrical) choices shine brightly. “Apele îngheţate” is the ballad of the album, as it is mostly an overlap of clean male and female vocals with some piano lines in the backdrop, which make for an emotional ride, especially considering that it is about depression and the way we deal with it.
“Nesfârşite” is an album that is best approached with an open mind, as it will challenge your perceptions on what metal (not necessarily just folk metal) can become when artists are brave enough to push the envelope. There are many things that work surprisingly well together on this album but also a few that don’t seem to really click. Nonetheless the many things I like about “Nesfârşite”, and E-an-na in general, compensate for the drawbacks. Personal highlights: “Epitaf”, “Mashiara” and “Apele îngheţate”.
Rating: 9 / 10
Andrei “Solomonar” Oltean – vocals, bagpipes, accordion, and other traditional instruments
Ovidiu “Cio” Ban – guitar
Dragoş Geomolean – bass
Paul Bucătaru – drums
Roxana Amărandi – vocals, violin
Ioana Popescu – keyboard