Can it really be approaching six years since French metallers Eryn Non Dae. left us and so many others drooling over their last album Meliora. It was a release which continues to lure and led us at the time to boldly suggest that extreme and progressive metal had a band which would “continually stretch the wide genres to impressive heights.” At last they have released its successor in the invasive shape of Abandon Of The Self; an encounter which more than justifies our claim.
Since the release of Meliora, unsurprisingly there have been a fair few bands and releases which have offered similar striking propositions. Many have pushed the boundaries of genres which are never slow in exploring new trespasses and adventures anyway. Abandon Of The Self now steps forward to join that collection of inspiring encounters, and we dare to say from the very frontline of the triumphant wave.
Formed in 2001, as The End, the Toulouse hailing quintet released their debut album, Hydra Lernaïa, through Metal Blade in 2009. It was a spark to attention and an already well brewed reputation the band had nurtured through their live presence and earlier EP. Meliora brought a whole new plateau of sound and imagination with its unveiling in 2012 which Abandon Of The Self has now escalated with its atmospheric drama and sonic invention.
Once again Eryn Non Dae. linked up with Mobo for the recording, mixing and mastering of Abandon Of The Self and swiftly gripped attention and the imagination with opener Astral. It looms in from a distance, static distortion shimmering in its air as a rhythmic shuffle soon infests ears and incites even keener attention. The raw throated scowl of vocalist Mathieu Nogues erupts against the track’s swing, the guitars of Franck Quintin and Yann Servanin gathering their wiry lures to subsequently wind around the pulsating surge of the growing trespass. Calm, clean vocals rise within the brewing tempest, conflicting atmospheres colluding rather than battling around the intrigue and voracity of the song. The rolling beats of Julien Rufié unite with the rhythmic grumble of Mickaël André’s bass to magnetically entice but it is the layers of contrasting textures and the immersive breath of the track which really pulls the listener in.
The compelling start to the album is thickened by the menace lined flirtation of Stellar. Nogues vocally walks through atmospheric intimation; his tones and expression becoming more intense as guitars weave a captivating almost feral aurora of sound as again rhythms court the predacious climate with their manipulative swing. It is a truly magnetic soundscape for ears to embrace and the imagination to explore, the band’s own lyrical and physical suggestion equally sparking fresh ventures in thoughts even as the senses increasingly cower before the brewing celestial storm.
Omni similarly sees Nogues with an initially controlled and provocative presence within a kaleidoscope of melodic and sonic wiring around the ever infectious craft of André and Rufié. Though inescapably invasive and disturbing, the ambient winds cast by Quintin and Servanin are tantalising, hinting and probing the psyche whilst allowing the volatility in the song’s heart and atmosphere to increasingly infest their mercurial weave. As with all songs and the album, every listen unveils new melancholic aspects, rapacious shadows, and dark depths to feast upon but equally a radiance which only draws you back time and time again.
The following Eclipse has a bubbling urgency to its predatory rock ‘n’ roll which arouses the senses just as potently as the atmospheric ferocity and seduction which entangles via the guitars. Every corner of the song and band unleash a compelling statement of emotion and enticement, again lust and fear hand in hand as submission to its evocative inferno was swift and inescapable before the epic flight of Halo invades and consumes, driven by further outstanding rhythmic engineering of song and the senses it manipulates. Getting lost in its soundscape was easy, immersing in its angst and emotional turbulence similarly certain, every moment of its ten minutes plus a refreshing intrusion of body and psyche.
The album closes with firstly Fragment, a pulsating inferno of intensity and untethered dissonance from voice to melodic toxicity and rhythmic incitement, and finally through the apocalyptic realm of Abyss. As with all tracks, the pair escort, no drag the listener through soundscapes which never settle and never allow predictability or an absence of adventure confront ears, the latter especially monstrous yet majestic as ire and fury merge with monolithic beauty and ravenous passion.
Though Abandon Of The Self made an immediate rich and irresistible impact, it was with time that is really gripped and thrilled as those dark corners and skilled layers were further exposed. The band describes their album as “a trip into the depths of the soul”, its press release, “a beast of a release!” We can only endorse both and suggest Eryn Non Dae. have not only sprung their finest moment yet but one of the year’s essential listens.
Abandon Of The Self is out now via Debemur Morti Productions; available @ https://erynnondae.bandcamp.com/ or https://erynnondae.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-of-the-self
Pete RingMaster 21/05/2018
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