Eryn Non Dae.

Meliora

01. Chrysalis
02. The Great Downfall
03. Scarlet Rising
04. Ignitus
05. Muto
06. Black Obsidian Pyre
07. Hidden Lotus

[10/09/12]
[M&O Music]

Calling something “art-metal” is difficult without making it sound pretentious. But then again, what else would you call Eryn Non Dae.? It seems almost impossible to determine what kind of metal Eryn Non Dae. is. There’s a lot of sludge, post, and doom, quite a bit of progressive, and some hardcore too. The band themselves term their music to be “avant-garde” or “experimental”. But in reality, isn’t that what all art is? So it should come as no surprise when these French-metallers came out with Hydra Lernaia in 2009, it was baffling. If anything, it was frightening and unlike anything you’ve heard before. But “interesting” would really be the best word to describe the album. Soon after it came out, END. had announced working on their follow-up album. Now almost 2-3 years later, have they been able to top their previously ambitious effort? Thankfully, the answer is, yes.

Meliora is a whirlwind of emotion. There is so much going on this album, you can’t put your finger on just one thing. It’s haunting, emotional and complex, but overall, it’s aggressive. And in all honesty, “aggressive” is what END. do best. Guitarists Yann Servanin and Franck Quintin paint such a bleak picture by utilizing strange tonal textures and sounds, it’ll make you feel downright squeamish. Along with the colossal rhythm guitars, the entire sound completely envelopes you, making the experience very emotional. The bass is also quite audible and does a great job by adding to the overall sound to make it feel huge. Without failing to mention, the drumming on this album is phenomenal. Not only does the mixing sound amazing but Julien Rufié does an amazing job at keeping up with the complex rhythmic patterns the band uses. You can see him really show off his skills at the epic climax of ‘Ignitus’.

For only 7 tracks long, the album clocks in at close to an hour (58 minutes and 22 seconds to be exact) but it strangely never feels that long. Partly in favour to how uniform the album is with the highs and the lows, it almost seems to flow in a sine wave manner. Therefore, with every track there comes a lull moment, which can better be termed as the calm before the storm. And as mentioned earlier, “aggressive” is what END. do best, so when the song comes back, it comes back hard… real hard. Though this seems rather formulaic, it’s a formula that works very well. Those lull moments give you enough time for you to grab your thoughts and realise what you’ve just been through, before the band comes back to assault you further with their terrifying barrage of metal. The perfect allegory for Meliora would be like a storm, with deadly waves that keep hitting you over and over again. But then, Meliora is more like a tsunami. It is devastating. Utterly devastating.

In comparison to Hydra Lernaia, this album is a lot more focused, where Hydra Lernaia had vast ambient passages where you’d quickly get bored with the nothingness. They weren’t able to emote that haunting feeling, which they certainly were going for. Meliora uses the same tool but places these vast ambient passages at particular points within the album to give a sense of continuity. This is another reason why the album flows so seamlessly and feels like one big track, a feat most bands find impossible to achieve. But sadly, this is also the problem with the album. Though END. seem to have shortened these ambient passages and aren’t as annoying as in the previous album, they still feel meaningless in the context of the album. Though this is a very tiny concern, it does impact the replay value of the album. The album is written to be played in a single sitting, but the meaninglessness of these passages makes you want to skip to the good parts, and there are quite a number of good parts on the album.

Avant-garde/Experimental metal is a genre that has seen many good bands come and go. To be able to consistently come out with good albums while trying to stay afloat and catering to an almost miniscule niche audience, is hard. Isis broke up in 2010, Tool will probably never come out with a new album and now Hydra Head Records has called it quits, further disabling us of getting any quality avant-garde/experimental metal. Things have been looking rather grim. Thankfully, END. have released an amazing album, showing us that the drive to create experimental music is still present and will always remain a genre pushing the envelope when things in the metal industry have become stagnant for far too long.

Eryn Non Dae – Meliora gets…

4/5

-AJ

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