First of all I would like to say that this particular sort of music is a pretty new genre in itself and I myself am a new fan of mixing hardcore, post-hardcore, post-core etc with heavier influences such as sludge, stoner or just heavy down tuned metallic music, whatever the name may be. Bands such as Neurosis, Amenra, KEN Mode, Cult of Luna & Black Tusk can be mentioned, just to name a few if you want some references. So a total newbie at your service, please don’t kill me!
I think it fits so perfect to combine the harsh and angry elements from core (which ever core that may be!) with the heaviness of doom and I know others hate it, but that is the case with every friggin’ music style. What I wanted to mention before reviewing ‘Hyperion’ is that I have really only compared this upcoming release with their previous release ‘Elysian Magnetic Fields’ from 2011, as I’m new to the band, but I’m glad I got the honour to hear & review them.
French Dirge have been around since 1994 and after three demos in their early days, that were more industrial oriented metal, they have evolved a whole deal and after a few member changes and six full length albums released on different labels, with the present being Debemur Morti Productions, they’re here again with a gargantuan album. Well when Dirge makes something, they make it big. It’s not just the songs, it’s everything from layout to performing guests. I must mention a quote from their bio “Destroying the sludge and post-core barriers, Dirge have composed some of the most exceptional and intelligent music of the last decade!”
We can establish that Dirge makes very complex music with lots of different styles and genres in the mix and ambience is as important as the heaviness. The long bleak landscapes they lay before your feet are sometimes overwhelmingly good and you just think ‘wow’ as you continue your way through the landscape until you’re woken up with something like a more melodic part with some clean singing for instance. I sense a funeral doom touch to the sound with the sad and dismal edge, which is also new to me in this case. The frosty slow first chords of the first track ‘Circumploaris’ is just breath taking and gives you a hint of what is coming.
It was around 2011 that Dirge mutated in to this now very dark, desolate yet atmospheric style of music. The industrial touches can still be heard but the main focus here is on the post-core sludge. This transformation can be heard on their acclaimed fifth album ‘Elysian Magnetic Fields’ which should not be missed.
But it’s not just sludge one can pinpoint on the doom-map, but there are also lots of other influences here and the song to get back to the funeral doom vibe I get, then the song ‘Hyperion Under Glass’ has a lot of it in and especially in the beginning when it’s extra austere and depressive sounding, ‘Hyperion’ has this ambience throughout the album.
The industrial element is still here and more so on the two last tracks of the album, which are a tad longer than the other songs on ‘Hyperion‘ as there are minor industrial noises and quirks which fit great, outstanding programming for sure and shows electronics in the mix can work a charm.
As guests on this release they have chosen: Milena Rousseau from the Spanish acoustic project Miroda, Nicolas Dick a fellow countryman and a member of the industrial metal band Kill The Thrill and last but not least Tara Vanflower from the goth darkwave Lycia who all help out with some vocals.
I love that the songs are long and almost drony at times and the production is flawless, these guys go all in. ‘Hyperion’ differs from Dirge’s previous release as it’s a lot more dark and dismal and the use of clean vocals are more apparent than on its predecessor ‘Elysian Magnetic Fields’. It’s also melodic in a doom kind of way. A slight leaning against post-rock as well as post-core are found throughout the record, but this band is constantly evolving so we never know what the next record will sound like.
Scribed by: Johannes van der Meer