DIRGE - Elysian Magnetic Fields

Dirge - Elysian Magnetic Fields

8 songs
66:21 minutes
***** ***


Starting in the mid-Nineties as an industrial metal band, Dirge from Paris have gone a long way since then. On their last two albums, they specialised in truly epic, long songs, rarely under ten minutes long, sometimes, as in the case of the title track of their last double album Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas, even up to a whole hour. Stylistically they had turned towards a more sludge and doom influenced kind of metal, a path which they consequently continue on their first record in four years, titled Elysian Magnetic Fields, their first output on the Swiss label Division Records.

The songs are still long, although only three make it this time only barely over ten minutes. But that doesn’t mean that Dirge have mellowed out. On the contrary, their brand of synthesizer infused sludge metal may remind partly of Neurosis, Cult Of Luna and the likes, but the Frenchmen work hard to give their songs their own identity. The production is cinemascopically vast, full of widely layered guitars and epic sweeps of synthesizers that might trump over the functional and discreet rhythm section. The vocals are harsh and fierce, just the way you like them in this gloomy genre.

Dirge might not have reinvented the genre, but they also don’t need to hide behind their established competition. Elysian Magnetic Fields is a flawless piece of doomy sludge metal that demands your attention. Repeated listening will unfold new details that make coming back a guaranteed treat. The double vinyl edition comes with the additional track Sine Time Oscillations. I haven’t had the chance to hear it, but the title indicates some experimental knob twiddling on the synthesizer. If you can live without that piece, you might be just as well served with the CD version. Fans of darkly roaming end-time metal will have an apocalyptically good time with Dirge.

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