Edari, the debut album from French band Område has to be one of the most fascinating and compelling propositions this year, and in turn one of the most enjoyable. The release consists of eight tracks which are startlingly individual to each other in sound and texture yet link perfectly in the album’s cinematic landscape through the fluid imagination fuelling all. Listening to the broad and fiercely emotive offerings it is like sitting at the head of a visual and aural telescope, not only looking in on a myriad of universes but immersing in their emotional tempests.
Område is the union of vocalist/guitarist Christophe Denhez, who also plays in Nerv and formerly Mur/In The Guise Of Men, and drummer Jean-Philippe Ouamer who also brings the electronic mastery to the project. Musically the Område sound is an avant-garde tapestry of post metal/rock, electronica, trip hop, industrial, and drama fuelled ambiences which are as bewitching as the flavours courting them. To be honest that description only hints at the full enterprise emerging from within Edari tracks, which as suggested earlier, are wholly unique to each other. The band’s major influences are probably the best hint to what will be discovered within the album’s intensive theatre, bands which include Manes, Ulver, Gazpacho, God Is An Astronaut, and Dodheimsgard
The Edgar Chevalier mixed and mastered release opens with Mótsögn, its opening haunting breath of sound and atmosphere swiftly sparking ears and imagination. Minimal but thick beats add to the emerging scenery as the distinctive tones, certainly to those fans of his previous/other projects, of Denhez spill expression and emotional shadows into the increasingly intensive and slightly volatile ambience. Numerous guests also appear on the album and the emotive caresses of sax from Damien Legret and Leo Sors, alongside the similarly potent lures of Kriss Mandra’s trumpet, add a sultry and inflamed hue to the enthralling tempestuous embrace of the opener and its increasingly sprawling presence.
If ears and thoughts are captivated by the first track, they are spellbound by the following Mann Forelder. It opens with a rising of epic tones through provocative keys and sonic colouring, the muscular rhythms of Ouamer only adding to the increasingly expanding and portentous air of a track hinting at an emprise of myths and warfare. Within this though there is a riveting and intimate melody from the piano, a reflective tempting which is smothered by the eventual weight and tribal drama of the song but lays the seed to the exotic electro shuffle and melodic heart which subsequently emerges. Harmonies and mystique, thick shadows and heroic tones all entangle as the song inspires ears and imagination, numerous listens as with every proposal within Edari needed to truly explore every corner and texture.
Luxurious Agony lays a gentle croon on the senses next, though as you can assume throughout the album, it becomes a rich weave and at times a maelstrom of styles and evolving layers which enthrals maybe before it even excites, the latter the reward from the first. Featuring the tones of Mnemic’s Guillaume Bideau, the track is a twisting of light and dark in an impassioned and haunted serenade, its darker depths a lingering presence which seem to be twisted into an even more emotionally unbalanced but fiercely tempting enticement within Satellite And Narrow. Featuring vocally Asphodel of öOoOoOoOoOo, the song is a choral like weave of celestial light and agitated emotion over a kinetic dance of electro and rhythmic convulsion, their union walled by sweltering trumpet beauty and dramatic energies.
The track is enslaving though even its might has to submit to the brilliance of Åben Dør and straight after Friendly Herpes. The first is emotional and physical torment aligned with malevolent intent put to sonic and rhythmic infection. Mystical and pestilential, the song virtually smiles as it infests and corrupts the psyche, thrusting the listener into its debilitating and demonic tempest of deranged innocence and corrosive beauty. Its successor offers a tribal opening awash with more of those heaven bred harmonies but also a mesmeric dark drone, once more suggestive contrasts of light and dark revolving around each other. Denhez’s guitar casts a magnetic evocative narrative within this increasingly oppressive soundscape adding to the theatre of the menacing charm also gripping ears. A brief relaxation of the intensity allows rhythms to dance and the song to build its pressure again, which it does in swift and even more compelling style. There is no escaping a Nine Inch Nails whisper to the track, but an essence quickly twisted and devolved into a ravenously rabid and instinctively predatory backing to the vocal anguish.
The album is completed by the calmer but no less emotionally embroiled Skam Parfyme and lastly Ottaa Sen. The first of the two shimmers with a melodic elegance which continues to brightly radiate even as shadows close in, rhythms darken the scenery, and vocals reach into their deepest angst whilst the closing song rides over constantly evolving landscape and climate. Again a majestic and monumental air of gods and legends collude with personal angst and life, and once more Område leave ears ablaze and imagination as rich in creative endeavour as pleasure.
Edari is not hard work but certainly an intensive time which needs thick attention to reap all its glories, something some will maybe turn away from. All should make the full effort though and discover one impressive and increasingly enjoyable adventure.
Edari is available now on CD, vinyl, and digitally via My Kingdom Music http://mykingdommusic.bigcartel.com/product/omrade-edari-digicd