Helping to permeate the heat of this disgusting American summer as of late has been France’s Ysengrin, who are apparently versed at the art of chilling bones through song.  Please note the singular use of the word song here, as Ysengrin’s latest offering, To Endotaton, is comprised of just one 40-minute song.  As unappealing as that usually sounds (unless you’re a big fan of droning dirges or prog freak-outs), To Endotaton is actually an engaging release with thick roots stemming from various genres.

Ysengrin brand their music as hermetic metal, which is fitting, as an air of occult rituals performed in forgotten caves lingers over To Endotaton.  A primitive backdrop inlaid with flecks of doom, black, death, folk, trad and prog blankets the album’s lone track.  Stylistic changes and moods within “To Endotaton” fluctuate regularly, though nothing strays too far from the core of the tune.  The guts of the song (and, subsequently, album) morph fluidly from eerie doom to ghastly death, flirt with odd progressive sections, then begin to fester in depressive blackened spots before coming full circle.  It seems that revelations of sorts seem to come about in increments during the course of “To Endaton,” as the track will shift a bit toward a less chaotic and more serene atmosphere at times, with some of the more gruff riffing/drumming pieces being laid to rest, while at other times the harsh elements of the track are reprised, completing a cycle.

Being previously unfamiliar with Ysengrin, it’s hard to say how To Endotaton stacks up when compared to its predecessor, Tragedies – Liber Hermetis, though the impression given is that the atmosphere created within To Endotaton has been nurtured and cultivated for quite some time.  Music possessing those esoteric qualities usually doesn’t come to fruition quickly.  Here’s hoping that the lads in Ysengrin will keep up the good work for years to come.

(7/10 Jodi Michael)