Thursday, May 26, 2011

DIRGE - Elysian Magnetic Fields CD review

DIRGE - Elysian Magnetic Fields CD
Division Records
Genre: Doom/Post Rock
Rating: 5/5

I must admit that I've spent more time writing about other bands of France's extreme metal genres, mostly black and death metal, that I've completely over looked most of their contributions to Doom. Case in point this band here DIRGE have been working hard on their craft since the mid-90s. I had to check in with my lady friend of Doom Knowledge just to ask her if she knew about this great band. She didn't. Alas I entered into this massive sounding atmosphere of drone and molasses dripping rhythms alone screaming "holy crap this is incredible." You've heard the term "move mountains?" This is like spending a day watching a whole range creep across the horizon, sounds of ground stone and cascading rocks included. At first I thought DIRGE was like listening to a NEUROSIS LP (or for you newbies think MASTODON) while on thorazine and with a ten pound weight on top of the needle. That's their post rock architecture at work within the eight compositions, all long by the way. Each cut on Elysian Magnetic Fields covers and crushes you all in due time of it's playing.

This is the fifth full length by the band which was originally formed by Marc T. (Guitar, Vocals and Programming). Over the years since releasing the first demo in 1994 the band, originally a two piece, has gone through many experiments in style and sound as well as additional bandmates. The five piece line-up finally solidified in 2001. Along with Marc T. there's bassist Christian M, Alain B on drums, Stephane L also playing guitar and finally Christophe "zomb" D. adding the samples. With all of that time together logged it it's fairly easy to see how they could create this masterpiece. I know I slipped in that post rock tag but that probably categories the hypnotic tones of the guitars mixed in with the samplings. Other then those beautiful moments, which run all through Elysian Magnetic Fields, the rest is filled with bone crushing doom. The drumming crawls along like the pounding pace of an ancient galley crossing the sea. Add the guitars and bass and instead of an ocean voyage you feel like you've booked passage for the river Styx.

All of the songs on here have major highlights but there are some that simply overwhelm. The opening cut, "Morphée rouge" starts off sounding like a electrical circuit shorting out (actually guitar feedback) and then at the 1:05 minute mark a mountain of sound just dropped from a few hundred feet into your lap. Yeah the first time I played this I had it turned up while I was leaning back in the chair and BOOM! That's the type of track you need standing by in your stereo on days when you really need to be shocked awake. I like how Marc T. alternates his vocals from caustic shots to almost mumbled whispers which kinda gives this a shoegazer appeal. "Cocoon" follows a similar line but with more emphasis given to guitar hypnotics and epic atmosphere. After only five minutes of it, and it's eleven minutes long, you feel drained because your body simply moves along with every beat. There's a three minute atmospheric relax point and then beat continues drag you along unforgivably. And it's only the third cut! Another favorite on here is the aptly titled "Falling". Simply put if have ever skydived then this should have been the song playing inside your helmet as you fell to the earth. Since I've already used the words "great band", "incredible" and "masterpiece" you get the idea.




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