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One of Italy's most ambitious heavy metal bands, Padova's Ephel Duath merge the realms of death, black, and progressive metal (think Cynic meets Solefald), and were founded in 1998, initially as a studio project, by the multi-talented duo of Davide Tiso (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Giuliano Mogicato (vocals, guitars, bass). After selling over 1,000 copies of their "Opera" demo (and topping MP3.com's heavy metal charts with over 20,000 free downloads!), the pair released 2000's anything but formulaic Phormula to equal amounts of raving and panning (but never less than astounded) reviews -- subsequently augmenting and reissuing it as Rephormula after signing with Earache Records subsidiary Elitist. Ephel Duath's next effort was 2003's wildly eclectic The Painters Palette, which arguably took even greater creative risks by incorporating electronics and free jazz, among other sonic accents. But, like its 2005 follow-up, Pain Necessary to Know, it found Tiso surrounded by new collaborators, vocalists Luciano George Lorusso and Davide Tolomei, bassist Fabio Fecchio, and drummer Davide Piovesan, Mogicato having moved on to work with Fields of Asphodel. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia