Following exploding genres as they do so is one of the rare pleasures in life. It’s like storm-chasing; you come very close to the limit of something grand and exhilarating, all the while risking going to close and being swept up in the turbulent eddies. Of course, with music, the dangers aren’t quite so life threatening. However, that’s not to say they aren’t without risk at all; the fields of music journalism are littered with FOMO, anxiety and the bias that comes with jumping too deep into a building narrative. One such narrative, one which we have danced with repeatedly at least, is progressive stoner. In the past few years, the groove filled, fuzz soaked, odd metered weather systems of progressive stoner have been constantly barraged with the winds of innovation and creation. Now, it is time to roll down the window and turn our face towards the sea, as an especially refreshing breeze blows from it and onto our faces.
Opium Eater‘s Ennui, streaming below in full, is a pleasure to those who prefer their stoner and doom mixed with as much variety as possible. Instead of turning to post metal influences, as is so common these days, Opium Eater instead blend their more spaced out passages with post-hardcore. Don’t get me wrong, the post metal influences are certainly present on this album but they’re not the sole source of outside influence. This proliferation of influences mostly takes the form of the harsh vocals, drawn out and high pitched screams, a quite welcome and unexpected addition to the base formula. Check out the second track, “The Effect of a Tragedy On Its Spectators” (a title perhaps too chillingly relevant to our newstream right now). It begins with a pretty standard, if incredibly well executed, desert rock/stoner intro passage; the bass speaks deep and true, the rolling drums lend their pace to the fuzzy guitars and everything is in order. But once the vocals hit, the beast shows its true colors, and the pain and rage beneath the music are broadcast out in the world.
What follows this more impactful and heavy moment is a return to the progressive stoner roots coupled with the appearance of clean vocals. The return of the heavier elements is also marked by experimentation with meters and the composition structure, adding lots of weird touches to the by now familiar riffs. This beautifully sets the stage for the contrast between the two (actually three) parts of the song and is a good example of what Ennui does so well. It swims without effort between these two forms of expression, quickly melding them into one whole, an album with its own identity and things to say about the genres it occupies.
It’s a true pleasure to listen to it more and more, as the album’s taste and texture form before your eyes, its disparate limbs melding into one. Oh, and of course this is on Art As Catharsis, one of our favorite labels in the world right now. Need I say more? Head on over to the bottom of the post and stream this work of art immediately; don’t forget to pre-order as it comes out on October 12th.