Monday, 26 August 2013

Eibon – II (2013) | 90%

The Baguette Doom Series pt. X : War Triptych

Eibon is back with their sophomore album after their excellent debut “Entering Darkness” and II definitely pushed their sound forward with its adventurous format of two song for forty minutes of music. I believe the identity of the band is more refined on the new album, it feels very French compared to the rather international sound of their first full length. There's samples in French related to the First World war and this mixed with the awesome painting of Otto Dix, one of my favorite artists, really evokes the despair and the mindless violence of the Great War. The suffocation of the trenches and the foul, deadly odour of the mustard gas are present throughout the long dirges. It's not something romantic like the gardens of Versailles, it's the dark look of 20th century France, full of bitterness, full of rivalries, full of corpses.

The first track, “The Void Settlers” starts with a lot of feedback and despite its nineteen minutes duration, it doesn't waste any time and attacks the listener with a fast riff and the harsh throaty vocals of Georges Balafas (also in Decline of the I , a post black band and Drowning, death metal). Even though they like lengthy numbers, the band can't really be integrated into the current post metal or atmospheric sludge trend but it can be compared to the first 2 Cult of Luna, their self titled and “The Beyond” were more violent than their later material and it's definitely an influence on Eibon. Their material can be atmospheric but it's always rooted in stoner doom rather than in Neurosis styled explorations. Slow heavy riffs, distorted bass licks and interesting yet simple crescendo riffs. Their double guitar is also well used in their sound and not just during the crushing moments but also in the calmer, unsettling moments without vocals like midway through the first song. A guitar is playing this cool lead while the other keeps throwing heavy groovy riffs at you, the songwriting is as good as the musicianship.

II is subtle but bold at the same time. The band managed to pull off the twenty minutes track concept with ease and dedication. I'm not particularly a fan of ambient or noise music but they're very good at it. I even felt this side of the band could had been expanded. Like on “Elements of Doom”, there's a two minutes ambient intro and it's quite well done and it ends with lush keys and the sound of water hitting the dry concrete of your pitiful art deco neighborhood. Navigating the fiery fields of world war I, the beauty has evaporated. It's mean and aggressive and it even has some black metal elements both in the tremolo riffs and the vocals delivery from time to time.

Eibon's II is one of the essential sludge release of 2013. Their sound is massive and ugly like a beautiful woman giving birth to a midget. It has this appeal that only the masters of the genre can achieve. Maybe this French band can become one as they're definitely on the right track.

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