The beauty of darkness abounds – from anywhere these days, even from Southern France where Eryn Non Dae. (END.) hails from. They’ve been around since 2001 but took a few years to develop their sound into their own brand of intricate, heavy and powerfully lush soundsapes. Apparenly when they started they were a power metal band but somehow morphed into what they say “delivers complex and brutal structures while at the same time adding doses of dark and apocalyptic moods.” Most of all they don’t feel the need to bludgeon the listener with a constant pounding but are very interested in letting the music evolve which includes many section of dark, droning ambience that just sucks you in. For me, that’s musical manna because I just love contrasts and varied textures, especially with very heavy music. Obviously that’s one of Opeth’s claims to fame as well as END.’s famed countrymen Gojira.
Even though the band’s been around since 2001, they’ve released just two albums, 2009’s Hydra Lernaïa and last year’s Meloria which we’re reviewing here. Meloria’s gotten some stellar reviews and are on Metal Blade now so they’re poised to become the next big thing and we definitely hope so this as album just hit us like a ton of bricks with its seamless blend of dark heaviness and comtemplative ambience. Meloria is just under an hour and includes two songs over 11 minutes so the band is not afraid of really stretching out their ideas to the full effect. The album begins ominously with Chrysalis, a song that begins ambiently but is mostly a very well-textured brutal piece. Right after that we get The Great Downfall (at 12 minutes, the longest song on the album) and it’s a wild ride that begins in ominous spaciness before amping up the heaviness that leads into a totally cool tribal beat section with simple but effective quiet instrumental parts before closing out the song in ultimate heavy doom. After several mostly brutal pieces (featuring some really great, sophisticate progressive chord work), we get Black Obisdian Pyre which, at 11 minutes, is one long song of varying intensity over a recurring eerie quietness that is extremely effective. The build up to the penultimate climax of the song is just astonishing. The album closes out appropriately with Hidden Lotus, a final stab at brutality which ends fittingly with two minutes of perfect ambience that allows the listener to remain with the band but still feel the effects of what’s proceeded for the last hour.
This is more of a band, than a collection of individuals but the star musician here may just be drummer Julien Rufié who is so damn versatile and really shines with his Danny Carey-esque (Tool) tribal feel. This is a really a perfect album for those of us who love well crafted, heavy music that eschews virtuosity in favor of mood and intensity and I can’t wait for their next album which, if Meloria is at all any indication, could put END. at the forefront of the current crop of adventurous metal bands. You can check out Meloria via the Spotify playlist below and also pick up a copy via the Amazon.com link, also below.
Review by Jeff Stevens
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