It sometimes feels like the journey into the globe’s metal extremities is a continuous descent down an ever blackening rabbit hole, constantly looking for new and darker corners, so little wonder that things can get a bit blinkered sometimes. It’s therefore perhaps worth remembering – at the risk of ignoring what the whole ‘rabbit hole’ metaphor is actually about in order to make this point – that even rabbits need to come up for air, fresh grass and the odd carrot at times. I mention this because Eryn Non Dae really is not the sort of thing I’d normally be slappin’ on the old stereo and sitting back with a 1kg bag of Tesco’s Value field fresh torpedoes to help me savour the experience. But, for all my inclination to rip this off the stereo and get on with something more important instead, as some friends of mine off the TV used to say, I have to point out that these French musical magicians did actually manage to stay my hand with surprising ease, as well as pulling out a few floppy-eared rodents for good measure along the way (er, I promise that’s the last rabbit reference).
Eryn Non Dae. (or END. if you hadn’t worked it out yet) is a little like listening to Gojira with a bit of Tool or some other mid-level heaviness head battering and trippy alternative thrown in for good measure. There’s also an irrepressible hardcore element and crescendos with such wall-of-soundness that they’ve been applied with the catch-all ‘post-metal’ brush. But there’s something very French about this – from the impressive experimentation to the accented nu-metal rap, the latter being something that some will find it almost impossible to get away from. But, that aside, Abandon Of The Self is out to mesmerise with its reverberating rhythms that ascend to almost tribal levels of hypnotic effect.
The power of those undulating sounds manage even to absorb Eryn Non Dae.’s angular borderline-djent riffs and the singular effect proves the band has spent the past six years since 2012’s Meliora twiddling their fret boards rather than their thumbs. Penultimate track Fragments is a pretty amazing 8 minutes-or-so that sums up the bands skill for segueing through their progressive repertoire and, remarkably, without really even sounding like their are particularly challenging the listener to delve too far into their world of high musical achievement. Such is the liquid ease with which they spin their sound. There’s obviously a fullness to their sound that fills all corners of the listening experience but it stops short of being claustrophobic, leaving wide open gaps for the pressure to release.
Frankly, there’s plenty of bands producing this style of music that could leave you with a dissonance-induced migraine – and yet Abandon Of The Self seems to have the exact opposite effect. Soothing almost and thoroughly enjoyable on all the levels on which it is presented if you are a fan of the heavier end of prog metal or you just fancy a bit of something different to help cleanse the palate. A decent album that never once drops the ball – the band being clearly skilled at what it does and which is all presented with production that as perfect as polished marble.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)