[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Dirge are a French group regimented at Debemur Morti. So far they have received excellent appreciation for their witty and sophisticated approach of the sludge-post-core style. Knowing Debemur Morti as mostly orientated to Black Metal haut-couture releases, I could have only imagined a synergy to Blut Aus Nord’s highly valued outputs.
This is their sixth opus presented by the label as “Immense, ethereal, colossal and yet deeply emotional all at once”. From the first notes the Paris located band impresses with an spirit of finesse that detaches them from the numerous American sludge bands, and imposes a storytelling atmosphere that invites the listener to taste every note of their songs. They set aside influences from industrial metal and post rock, like in “Circumpolaris”, and additionally they carefully affectionate the songs with that genuine gentle touch of sensible artistry.
Thus, songs like “Floe”, even if structurally close to doom metal lamentations, gain a parlor and a strong sense of nobility helped by a cold, clinical style of drumming. It has the perfect distance from noise, sludge or harsh doom and the perfect dose of melody, never risking a fall into plastic insipidness.
They may remind us of Neurosis, Godflesh or Years Of No Light or sometimes of Buried At Sea and Twilight (“Beneath Trident’s Tomb”), and yet their sense of almost avant-garde doom architecture hints at Ulver, Fleurety or (late) Forgotten Woods. Above all, as in the greatly danceable “Venus Claws”, they remain poetical and keep their textures undefiled by punk-roll burlesque egomanias.
The more you delve into the tracks the more you realize you have to come back in fear that something may have escaped you. A song like “Hyperion Under Glass” has such strange manners of attractions that you find it difficult to make out a clear cause for your profound musical empathy: the music goes along with a mélange of majesty, suffering and sheer delight in the sun, as if printing an image of us indifferently enjoying the rays of the sun under a sky made of glass. Strangely beautiful or as their remote predecessor Baudelaire had put it “The beautiful is always strange”.
Throughout the record you can find some of the finest traits that fascinated us in the early times of doom-death lullabies composed by Anathema or Paradise Lost…Certainly, Dirge bears its indistinguishable mark mainly, like in Filigree, personalized by this almost photorealistic attention to detail and by an atmospheric tonality of the compositions, like in the final narcotic-induced “Remanentie”.
Rarely have such beautiful harmonies been so intelligently resolved in the metal genre. Dirge has engraved its signature in any listener’s soul for a long time.