Lets us get this out of the way. Ethereal Riffian is sort of a silly name unless you can shrug it off as stoner humor. From the now popular country of Ukraine comes Ethereal Riffian which wants nothing more than to add to the universe unearthed by bands like Sleep and Ufomammut. The band is seeing their 2014 debut released on cassette through distribution by Tarturus Records. I quite like the new artwork as the black and white balance is more appealing than the band’s first album art which looked like a cover for a DMT documentary.
With all joking aside, Ethereal Riffian is more than capable of making 40 minutes enjoyable and entertaining. With the backbone of stoner doom and an eye towards psychedelic atmosphere the band plunges their listeners into collapsing ether dreams where there are just as many dangers as pleasures. Taking heavy cues from psych, progressive, and krautrock structures, the band elongates their tracks into space jams with world ending conclusions. Songs like “March of Spiritu (Rise of Sheol)” have a delightful combination of stoned wanderlust heard in Sleep’s Dopesmoker as well as Pink Floyd’s Saucer Full of Secrets. Stoner doom is easy to do but it takes craft and dedication to make such an attainable style interesting not only for a track but for an album length.
Ethereal Riffian seems obsessed with the cosmic aspect of their music. Aeonian cycles through Native American, Buddhist, and biblical imagery leading to a record which is the cooler version of the guy on mushrooms who tells you the same thing at a party. The near absurdity of the whole thing works in the band’s favor as stoner doom’s flirtation with cosmic philosophy oddly works together. This maybe the first transcendental doom of the year if not the past 10 years. Though I make easy jokes regarding things like the band’s use of didgeridoo in “Wakan Tanka,” Aeonian is never dull and maybe capable of continual play even after the humor has faded. Aeonian was a surprise from a place not typically associated with its psychedelic metal. I stand corrected.