Eryn Non Dae. – Meliora
Intentionally or not, I’ve been reviewing and listening to a lot of French metal. This year has been particularly prolific for the French scene as far as new material is concerned(quality wise, the output is huge), with Gojira, Gorod, Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord(Cosmosophy has leaked, yes) and now END.
I remember listening to bits and pieces of END.’s debut full length on youtube, sometime around 2010. Needless to say, I was impressed in spite of my (past) aversion to the genre, considering they had something exciting going on, something that very few other bands out there were doing; namely, bringing in ideas from a variety of sources and creating unique structures with a unique sound. However, I left it at that : mild appreciation, but not my thing. Fast forward to 2012.
A few days ago, I was given the promo for review. I wondered what this would be like. It couldn’t be too bad, I reckoned, and put it on. I listened. At the end of the second song, I did the digital equivalent of rewinding back to the first song. And then re-listened to the album. I’m listening to it for the
fifth ninth time now, and I still can’t figure out how they’ve managed to seamlessly integrate fast hardcore-ish sections, lush downtempo riffs, hardcore shrieks, spoken word, clean vocals, unusual time signatures while not letting their songs degenerate into soulless chug-athons. The melodies aren’t excessive though, as the band relies mostly on groove for memorability, with Julien Rufié’s quick, precise chops (and wonderful restraint when required) that manage to hold the listener’s attention, sometimes even overwhelming the senses. The richly textured guitar driven atmospheric soundsmake for a grand backdrop for your imagination to bring forth a world that is dying, succumbing to the chaotic elements that inhabit it, something fitting for movies such as the animated masterpiece, Akira.
The album has seven songs – of which ‘The Great Downfall’ and ‘Black Obsidian Pyre’ are near-12 minute epics with multiple ‘movements'(in that order). ‘Chrysalis’, the album opener starts off with the classic ‘calm before the storm approach’, and ‘Hidden Lotus’ makes for a very fitting album closer, having the air of finality right from the first riff. ‘Scarlet Rising’, ‘Ignitus’ and ‘Muto’ are sandwiched between the two 12 minute juggernauts and sustain the album neatly where it could have been most vulnerable – its temporal midriff. The mixing and mastering is very well done – fiddling with the EQ settings is rewarding, though the bass is still not as audible as I would’ve liked it to be. The guitar tone is grainy, with lots of mids, but with just the right treble so as to not let it go the ‘djent’ way. The songwriting, as remarked, is amazing. The vocals deliver some serious impact, always poised at just the right moment to shriek their way into particularly heavy sections.
At 58 minutes, this album is a mammoth given the density of the multi-layered sound. And it is one with excellent replay value, as I look forward to another few months of enjoyable deconstruction while leaving the reader with what is hopefully a valid enough reason to get the album – treat yourself.
Overall score : 9.1/10