vendredi 26 mai 2017

Emyn Muil - Elenion Ancalima
Tolkien Black Metal

Review Summary: A homage to Tolkien black metal.

Emyn Muil is a one man project that started in 2012. Created by Saverio Gioves “Nartum”, the band was part of a bigger project called “Nartum Art – Music Projects”, whose aim was for Nartum to express his sensibility to black metal and all of its subgenres. Emyn Muil is therefore a very personal project and a way for Nartum to express his love for Tolkien’s World. The first record, Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga, was released in 2013 and already showed a lot of potential in the epic black metal scene. In fact, Emyn Muil is often cited as a reference in the genre, alongside Summoning (credited as the creators of the genre) and Caladan Brood. 

The subgenre being quite small, it is hard to stand out with your own unique sound. Most of the time, bands sound either too much like Summoning or fall under another genre. Elenion Ancalima starts off on a very atmospheric introduction before heading towards an epic fourteen minute (The Lay Of Númenorë) track that features every aspect of Tolkien Black Metal : atmospheric guitars, black metal screams, some female vocals, folkloric melodies and of course, lyrics of epic sections of Tolkien’s World. While The Lay Of Númenorë stayed quite calm, Ar-Pharazôn brings changes of pace during the entire song that enables the listener to feel the energy of the heavier section and the emotions of the epic-atmospheric parts. The most epic moment of the album is reached at the end of Far Umbar when Nartum screams in a way that makes you picture a leader pumping a crowd before a fight. In fact, you hear the crowd screaming back which helps you picture that scene even better. The album ends on another atmospheric outro which soothes the atmosphere before the end. 

Although the intro and outro both fit the idea of an atmospheric album, if you take them off, you only have around thirty minutes of epic black metal which falls a little short. In the end, this leaves you a little wanting for more, especially after the epic ending of Far Umbar. The fact that this is Nartum’s way of expressing his love for epic black metal makes it obvious that his influences will be very present throughout the record. In fact, this album sounds a lot like Summoning and doesn’t bring anything fresh to the genre. While this is not necessarily a problem, new and unique sounds are what makes you want to listen to a record over and over. This is saved by the quality of the epic parts of the album that really help you picture scenes while listening to the record.

This is definitely another step forward for Emyn Muil. Once again, Nartum has proved he can craft quality Tolkien black metal. One can only hope that his next release will feature unique sounds and even more new addition. The female vocals can definitely be improved and used a bit more to create a mystic atmosphere for example. All in all this a great effort and definitely a great homage to Tolkien.

ENISUM - Seasons Of Desolation
Post-Black Metal

Review Summary: "Oh I feel nothing, I am nothing in this life, like a Dead Star in the sky tonight"

Enisum came out from the depth of the Italian Alps with their previous record Arpitanian Lands which was mastered by Deafheaven Jack Shirley. Mixing some folk elements into their post-black metal sound, they have created a unique sound that was perfectly used to describe the beautiful scenery in which Lys grew up through their music. Enisum started out as a one man project but recently became a band with the addition of the Dead Soul to the drums, Leynir at the bass and Ephelyn for the female vocals. Seasons Of Desolation came out in April 2017 through Avantgarde Music, a label that already has some of the best new bands of post-black metal (Downfall of Nur, Selvans…). While Lys proved to be a very good songwriter, the addition of more ideas from other members were something to be looking for. Seasons Of Desolation didn’t disappoint.

Something that struck me at first listen was that Enisum’s guitar sounds didn’t change on this record. Slow, clean arpeggios to introduce a song that moves into an explosion of drums, bass and guitar. In fact, the sounds of the opening track Autumn of Melancholy were so similar that it reminded me of their single from Arpitanian Lands “Desperate Souls”. This was both reassuring to know that they’re still the same but also gave me a few doubts as to whether there was any progression in this record. So what changed on this record? Well for starters, the drums. While Arpitanian Lands had some awesome blast beats, Seasons Of Desolation brings cool fills and more originality to the formula. Another notable mention goes to the two separate songs Seasons… and …Of Desolation. The first song basically introduces the second with clean guitars and the beautiful, mystic female vocals from Ephelyn that were present on Arpitanian Lands, and the second song is the explosion of black metal where Lys uses both the high pitched screams and deeper growls. This combination of atmosphere is what made Enisum’s sound so unique and powerful. 

The main problem of this record is the repetition of the formula. If you’re a fan of this kind of music, you won’t get bored but if you’re just checking them out, you might find them a bit repetitive at first. After a few listen, you can find many details that enhances the experience such as the high pitched scream at the beginning of Autumn of Melancholy and the atmospheric ending of Dead Star. Although Enisum mainly played it safe here, there is one song that stands out from this: Obscure Depths. Just like its title, the song is very dark and brings an uneasy atmosphere where Enisum display their most aggressive riffs and vocals to date. Highlights on this record are mostly the songs with Ephelyn such as Seasons Of Desolation, Nameless Sadness and Dead Star. 

While Seasons Of Desolation didn’t feel like a new sound from Enisum, the band managed to perfect their composition and take a few steps forwards into the light. Nevertheless, they managed to craft a record full of emotions and atmospheres that only them know how to make. By joining the Avantgarde Music team they are building a bigger fanbase and the upcoming tour will help them to get known to the public. After this safe step forward, we can hope for a record that will bring lots of new sounds and composition. Even so, this is a record that all fans of atmospheric black metal fans should check out.