M & O Music
October 8th, 2012
Release length: 58:22
“Chrysalis” is a well paced performance all around. After a slow build, the song carries a bit of a Meshuggah influence through some hostile vocals against a performance that comes off a bit more Djent inspired. The atmosphere is rich from start to finish, coming off as if in the midst of a heavy fog, especially during the many slower passages. While a good track from start to finish, you can often hear what sounds like wash out on the cymbals that are further in the background. For the most part it’s hard to pick up on, but around the four minute mark you can’t ignore it thanks to some emptier riffs, as well as a stronger presence from that part of the kit.
There also are some longer track lengths to be found, but most of the time it’s due to extensive periods of Ambience. “The Great Downfall” is met with over two-and-a-half minutes of what seems like a rumbling noise from one of the guitars. The lead riffs from that point on keep to a consistent hypnotic execution that is a bit hollow, allowing the drums and twang of the bass guitar to stick out before becoming richer and dismal for the chorus. It doesn’t take long to start getting stale but by the eight minute mark there are some emotional hooks that easily could and should have overstayed their welcome before shifting into what sounds like the score to a bad narcotic trip as represented in some kind of low-budget or independent film. “Black Obsidian Pyre” also has a long introduction, but it’s more like a grim Doom Metal performance. There are some whispers and clean singing to give the music a little something extra for the first few minutes, but from there it picks up to the same general aggression and monotone shouting up to the last two minutes where the subtle atmosphere wraps bleeds into “Hidden Lotus” as flawlessly as that track is moderately enjoyable.
One of the reasons why most of the songs on Meliora just aren’t that engaging is because the audio just sounds off. Aside the aforementioned wash out, the drums end up really loud overall, the vocals are often drowned out, and most of the release just sounds unfinished, as if it were recorded in a high budget studio but never properly mastered. “Scarlet Rising” is one of the few to not be hindered by this. There’s a great deal of enthusiasm with some complex Sludge Metal inspired riffs that cut to slower paces with spoken dialogue at just the right times to help build a little more tension. “Muto” shares a similar amount of energy for the most part. The chugging riffs carry a somewhat blunt thickness to them, enhanced by some of the more technical drumming patterns in the bridges and chorus. Like on many other songs, the flat screaming performance leaves a lot to be desired, but the clean singing about three-and-a-half minutes in works for the slower Rock passage that comes into play at that time, offering a brief breath of fresh air.
Meliora is an interesting album to say the least. It’s great that Eryn Non Dae don’t go overboard with technicality and really focus on the amount of complexity in the sense that this recording sounds like an example of blowing off steam. Random fits of clarity are littered against a loss of control in rather violent outbursts or narcotic induced physical restraint. In that respect, Meliora is an album well worth experiencing to see how well controlled and uncontrollable aggression can work hand in hand to create a mind boggling series of frustration expulsions that do for the Progressive Metal genre what early Opeth did in including a Death Metal presence to it. But between flat screams, slightly hollowed and unfinished sounding performances, even a hint of wash out that is often too loud to ignore, the music just doesn’t have the bite it needs to have all of this leave any sort of memorable impression on the listener. Instead you’ll appreciate what the band is going for, but still be checking the clock more times than you should.
01. Chrysalis – 8:54
02. The Great Downfall – 12:01
03. Scarlet Rising – 6:15
04. Ignitus – 5:38
05. Muto – 6:22
06. Black Obsidian Pyre – 11:19
07. Hidden Lotus – 7:54
|Initial Pressing Score: 5/10